It is now mandatory to register your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office before filing a lawsuit. Only copyright holders who have obtained a decision regarding their application may file a lawsuit. Obtaining a decision from the Copyright Office can take 3-7 months. Pending applications are not eligible.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyrightable works include the following categories:
- Literary works
- Musical works, including any accompanying words
- Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
- Pantomimes and choreographic works
- Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
- Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- Sound recordings
- Architectural works
Copyright protects “original works of authorship.” These works must be fixed in a tangible form of expression, such as a record, a video, a document, etc. Works that can be communicated with a device such as a computer, television, or tablet are also eligible for copyright protection.