How to Copyright a DVD

by A.L. Kennedy
It's possible to register copyright on a DVD in the U.S.

It's possible to register copyright on a DVD in the U.S.

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Copyright protection attaches to many forms of creative work, including motion pictures recorded on a DVD. Copyright protection is automatic in the United States for works created after 1976, but you must register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office if you want to bring a legal action against someone who is using your work without your permission.

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Step 1

Fill out the required forms. The U.S. Copyright Office offers two ways to register: online or on paper forms. If you register online, you will use Form eCO, available through the U.S. Copyright Office website. If you register on paper forms, you will use Form CO and Form PA, which is used to register video recordings.

Step 2

Prepare a written description of the recording on the DVD. In order to register a copyright in performances recorded on DVDs or other motion picture formats such as film, the U.S. Copyright Office requires that this written description in addition to a copy of the DVD be filed with the U.S. Copyright Office. The written description should contain a general description of the content of the work. A script or synopsis may be used to fill this requirement.

Step 3

Submit the completed application, the written description, and one copy of the DVD to the U.S. Copyright Office. You will also need to pay the registration fee. If you used Form eCO to register online, the registration fee is $35 as of 2011. If you used paper Form CO, the registration fee is $50 as of 2011. Once your complete application is submitted, your copyright is considered "registered" and you may bring a lawsuit to protect it in court, if necessary, even if the infringement occurred before your registration was complete.