Securing copyrights is a necessary protection for any business or individual who creates intellectual property. Whether you're a start-up with a new product design or an established filmmaker creating a feature-length film, copyright protection is essential to protect your work and your revenue streams. In New York, securing your copyrights has some unique wrinkles compared to other states, so it's important to understand your legal responsibilities in order to ensure you have the best protection for your work.

The first step in securing your copyrights in New York is to determine whether or not the material you have created is eligible for copyright protection. To receive this protection, your work must be a creative and original expression in a tangible form. This covers a number of works including books, songs, videos, photographs, software, and more. Works that are considered to be purely informational, such as recipes, phone books, and other compilations of information, can't be copyrighted.

Once you've determined that your work is eligible, you must register with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can begin enforcing your copyrights in New York. Before registering, you should create a permanent copy of your work to store at your home, business, or place of work in order to retain evidence of your authorship in the event your copyrights are challenged or infringed. To register your work with the Copyright Office, you must first create an application describing your work and then file your application with your official copyright fee. Your registration will be reviewed and approved within eight months of submission.

Once you've secured your federal registration, your next step is to consider any New York-specific copyright issues. In New York, works may have different terms of ownership depending on the type of work and the relationship between author and employer. For example, in New York, an employer can be granted an ownership stake in works created by their employees while they are under that employer's service.

Additionally, New York copyright protection is extended to several types of works that aren't normally included within the scope of federal copyright protection. This includes works such as choreographic works, architectural works, and computer programs created during the course of employment.

Finally, if you believe that someone is infringing upon your copyrights, you must take action in order to enforce your rights. In New York, you may file a copyright infringement suit in both federal and state courts. When filing, you must demonstrate that the alleged infringer is duplicating your work and that their use of your work is likely to cause damage to the owner or author of the work. Additionally, it is important to take action quickly as copyright infringement suits come with a statute of limitations, meaning that you will be unable to file a suit beyond a certain amount of time.

In order to get started with copyright protection in New York, it's essential to ensure that your work is eligible for copyright protection, register with the U.S. Copyright Office, and understand the state-specific changes to copyright regulations. Additionally, to ensure that your copyrights are adequately enforced, you must also take prompt action to pursue any infringement of your work. Being aware of the legal rights and responsibilities associated with copyright protection is the best first step to safeguarding your work in New York.


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