How to Copyright a Magazine

By Terry Masters

Magazines typically contain contributions from multiple creative people, but the copyright in the compiled book usually belongs to the owner of the magazine. Creative contributions to magazines are usually considered works-for-hire, where the creator sells his rights to the magazine in exchange for payment. The owner of the magazine has a common law copyright in the completed work as soon as it is produced in a fixed medium. This means the owner is the acknowledged holder of the rights in the magazine, without having to formally register the work with a government entity. If the owner wants to protect his rights by suing an infringer, however, he must register the work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Only registered works have standing to sue for protection in federal courts.

Step 1

Put a notice of copyright in a conspicuous place within the magazine. Notice informs the public of the magazine publisher's reservation of the exclusive rights to benefit financially from the magazine. It also prevents infringers from claiming to be unaware of the copyrighted status of the material. Most publications place a standard copyright notice on one of the first few pages of the book. Any language that provides notice of copyright is sufficient, but there is standard language that most publications use. Open any book or periodical and use the same notice.

Step 2

Access the electronic Copyright Office, or eCO, on the U.S. Copyright Office's website. Using the eCO is not the only method of registering your magazine, but it is the preferred method. The eCO is the method with the lowest filing fees and the fastest processing time. It is also the only method where you can track the status of your application. Create a login account by selecting a user name and password.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Step 3

File out the online copyright application. Select the "Register a Ne Claim" option on the sidebar, under the Copyright Services menu. Click on "Step One: Complete an application." Select "Literary Work" as the type of work category that includes magazines. Fill out the rest of the application by following the instructions by following the prompts based upon whether the magazine has been published or is still unpublished.

Step 4

Submit a sample of the magazine. If the magazine exists in an electronic format, you can upload a sample to the eCO system. If the magazine does not exist in an electronic format, you must mail samples to the Copyright Office separately. If you are sending the samples in by mail, print the mailing label from the eCO system. The system prepares the label with a barcode to make it easier to match your submission with your electronic application. Prepare the package exactly as required by the eCO system to avoid processing delays.

Step 5

Pay the filing fee. Select "checkout" to process payment. The eCO system accepts credit card payments or an electronic transfer from a bank account. You can also pay with a Copyright Office deposit account if you have funds on reserve with the office. You must provide a valid email address to process your payment. This is where the payment confirmation is sent. Keep your payment confirmation with your business records as proof of registration. Your payment is nonrefundable, even if your copyright application is rejected, so prepare your application carefully.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
How to Word a Copyright Notice for a Screenplay



Related articles

How to Copyright Choreography

A copyright affords protection to creators and owners of unique intellectual property that is fixed in some permanent, tangible form such as a written notation, book, video, sound recording, or drawing. To be eligible for copyright protection, your choreography must be original. Under U.S. copyright law, as soon as an original work of authorship, such as choreography, has been created in fixed form, then copyright protection exists from that time. This gives the author or his agent to rightfully claim copyright. However, it is much better to register the copyright, because it creates a public notice that you own the rights and enables you to sue in federal court if someone uses your choreography without your permission. It is important to note that choreography that has not been made into a fixed form is not eligible for copyright protection.

What Is Copyright Infraction?

With easily copied material available on the Internet, the likelihood of copyright infraction has increased. Copyright is a legal protection for the creators of original literary, musical, artistic and intellectual works. Protection generally lasts until 70 years after the creator’s death. A copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, display and prepare derivative works of the original work. Protection automatically exists as soon as the work is in fixed or tangible form, but optional copyright registration gives the owner the right to sue in federal court to protect the copyright.

How to Copyright Pictures

Pictures, either created as artwork or taken with a camera, can have their copyrights registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. While they are technically copyrighted the moment they are created in a tangible form, registration enables protection of the work. Motion pictures, such as video recordings, can also be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration is necessary in order to sue and receive damages for infringement of your copyright.

Related articles

How to Copyright Something in Canada

Under Canadian law, a copyright is created as soon as you reduce an original work of authorship to tangible form. Full ...

A List of Copyright Rules & Procedures

Copyrights protect original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. They prohibit anyone other than the author ...

How to Get a Cartoon Character Copyrighted

A copyright gives the owner exclusive rights in an original creative work. Although copyright protection automatically ...

How Can I Check If a Document Is Copyrighted?

In the United States, the federal government controls official copyright registrations. Any creator that wants ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED