How to Copyright Multiple Similar Works

By Louis Kroeck

In order to copyright multiple similar works at the same time you will need to copyright those works as a collection. Before attempting this, make sure that you can meet the criteria for registration. In order to be eligible for registration, all of the similar works to be copyrighted must be owned by the same individual. Works with different owners cannot be copyrighted together at the same time. However, multiple authors or owners may transfer ownership prior to registration in order to circumvent this rule. Additionally, all of the individual works you intend to copyright as a collection must not have been previously copyrighted or included in any other collective copyright applications. Finally, in order to copyright your multiple works at the same time they will all need to be unpublished or they will need to have been published at the same time.

Step 1

Compile the multiple similar works into one collection. For musical works this might include taking several different songs and placing them on one CD. For literary works this might include taking multiple essays and compiling them into one book.

Step 2

Select a name for your collection of multiple similar works. The name could be as simple as an album name or a brief title describing the nature of the works.

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Step 3

Obtain a copyright application or sign up for the U.S. Copyright Office's online application system. Online registration is preferred as the filing fee is lower and you will be permitted to upload your work to the Copyright Office.

Step 4

Complete the copyright application by providing your background information, information pertaining to your works, the collective title for your works, the dates of creation and publication, and a statement as to any preexisting material in your work or any previous attempts to publish your work.

Step 5

Provide the Copyright Office with a copy of your works. If you selected the online application you can upload your works directly to the Copyright Office. If you selected a paper application you will need to mail your works to the Copyright Office.

Step 6

Pay the applicable filing fee associated with your registration.

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How to Copyright a Collection



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