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by Clifford D. Hyra on December 3, 2009

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

fred edwards 02.01.10 at 5:17 pm

what if you want to copyright your logo and name do you have to send the picture of the logo and the name by fax or email or ect…. just trying to figure which would work best in my favor.

Clifford D. Hyra 02.09.10 at 5:19 am

Logos and names are protected by trademarks, not copyrights. Copyrights are for “creative works”, which does not include short phrases. To file for a trademark, you can upload your logo online using the Trademark Office online application form. However, I would recommend using an attorney.

carlos dixon 02.17.10 at 12:09 pm

I am a producer/ artits and I am trying to take the proper legal steps into the music Industry. How do I register a stage name. As copywrite or trademark?

Clifford D. Hyra 02.17.10 at 7:00 pm


A stage name/band name would be protected as a trademark. Any music you made could be protected by copyright. Copyrights protect creative works like music, books, etc. Trademarks protect brands such as product and business names and logos.

Harish kumar 07.10.10 at 6:15 pm

Can i get trademark for my website name.if then how much will it cost in india?

Javier 07.17.10 at 3:44 am

What if it’s a song? Should I get an attorney or can I do it on my own? And what if I have multiple songs? Can I get away with a single filing fee?

Maya Yahoum 07.31.10 at 8:33 pm

Hello, Im a writer and I have a blog where I post all my poetry on, and my question is how do I get acess to copywrite all my material?

Clifford D. Hyra 08.13.10 at 4:46 pm


I am not sure what you are asking. In the U.S., you can register your copyright claim to all the poetry on your website together, if none of it has been published, in other words if the poetry has been displayed on your website but copies of the individual poems have not been distributed. You can take screenshots or printouts of your website to deposit as part of your application.

You can file your application online with the U.S. copyright office. However, it may be a good idea to retain an attorney to ensure you do not make a mistake which will slow down the processing of your application.

Clifford D. Hyra 08.13.10 at 4:52 pm


You can get an attorney or do it on your own, but if you are not familiar with the process I would recommend using an attorney. The cost should be fairly low (about $200-300) and it can save you a lot of time both in preparing your application and in fixing any mistakes that you might make.

Please see the U.S. Copyright Office’s page on music collections here. Generally, multiple songs can be submitted with a single filing fee if they are owned by the same person and were published together or are unpublished.

Clifford D. Hyra 08.13.10 at 4:56 pm

Generally speaking, you can get a U.S. trademark for your website name if you use it in connection with the sale of products or the advertisement of goods in the U.S. I am not an Indian trademark attorney, so I really cannot speak to whether you can get an Indian trademark, or what the costs would be. I would have to ask my Indian associate- the rules are likely similar.

Kenneth Watson Jr 08.15.10 at 12:08 am

I have a story I am working on to turn into a TV series. What should I do first to copyright my work?

Clifford D. Hyra 08.16.10 at 2:56 pm

You can register your copyrights to the story and/or any scripts adapted from it. The U.S. Copyright Office website ( has great information about copyright registration. It is a relatively simple process. I would recommend using a copyright attorney to make sure your application is completed and submitted correctly. You can expect your application to be processed in 6-9 months if submitted electronically, however you will have protection dating to the date of filing .

Allie Rosile 08.21.10 at 10:29 pm

I am wondering is it possible to copywrite an ad or slogan for a major company or product. I have an idea or an ad campaign and several ideas for ads for a major bottling company. I do want to protect my idea. Can anyone give me some advice.

Clifford D. Hyra 08.25.10 at 6:48 pm


Slogans are protected by trademark law and not copyright law. Trademark law protects a slogan only if you use it in commerce, or if you have an intent to use it in commerce and register your slogan with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

An advertisement (i.e. commercial) is protected by copyright, but only tangible expressions are protected, not ideas. An idea for an ad cannot be copyrighted- an actual ad video can be, as can story boards, written dialog, etc.

If you just have an idea for an ad, that cannot be protected by copyright. The only option I can think of to protect the idea is to have the company sign an agreement not to use your idea without your permission before you tell it to them. Most large companies would not agree to sign such an agreement, however.

Hugo 09.02.10 at 6:56 pm

Im trying to get my clothing brand off in the right steps the name and logo do i trademark them or copyright them?

Clifford D. Hyra 09.03.10 at 9:25 pm


Names and logos should be trademarked to protect them. Your logo could also be protected by copyright, but that would only protect it from copying, and not from another independently derived logo that looks similar.

TAS 09.22.10 at 6:40 am

Mr. Hyra,
thank God for people like you. I wrote a musical that I want to copyright. However, I have no music sheets yet to the song but the tunes; and a producer asked to meet with me this coming thursday.
1. I want to protect my work how much do I pay for copyrighting the whole work and do the music part later?
2. Is it legal to do the whole script now and do the songs send in later since it’s musical?

Many thanks.

Jesse 09.29.10 at 12:20 pm

I am about to finish a short film and a good friend of mine thinks I should get it copyrighted before I go and show it off at festivals. Any idea on how I can go about that?

Austin 10.04.10 at 4:09 am

Ive recently completed 3 children’s picture books and would like to know if I should copyright them as 1 or individually. And, if I copyright them as 1 would I be able to protect and publish them individually.

Clifford D. Hyra 10.18.10 at 5:01 pm

The only advantage to copyrighting different works together is that you save money on the application fees. Copyrighting multiple works together would not stop you from later publishing them individually or enforcing your copyright for one of the works by itself. However, it would make it more difficult to license your works individually.

Clifford D. Hyra 10.18.10 at 5:02 pm

Jesse, Contact a copyright attorney or visit and read some of the great information they supply.

Clifford D. Hyra 10.18.10 at 5:05 pm

The script and music for a play, authored by an individual, can be registered separately. You would have to submit two separate applications. Each application, submitted online, has a fee of $35. I also recommend using an attorney, who will charge you some fee on top of that.

michael 10.29.10 at 4:09 am

any thoughts on the best way to go about getting my original board game ideas copyrighted?

Nick S. 10.31.10 at 1:23 am

I’m having an original internet dating/match-making site built. I know that I need to pay the on-line fee of $35 for the logo. What steps, if any, do I need to take to protect the name of my website? I own the .com, .net., and .org. Also, I spoke to a person at the copyright office (who wasn’t very helpful) and she said that I had to send in a CD of all of my web pages to the office. She didn’t say how much this would cost or if there was anything else that I needed to do to ensure that my website, and all that comes with it, is protected. I definitely need some help here and can’t at this time afford an attorney. Thank you.

Clifford D. Hyra 11.01.10 at 7:51 pm


You will have to be a little more specific in order for me to give you any substantial guidance. If you want to protect the rules/gameplay of a board game, a patent is the way to go. You could use copyright to protect the appearance, the instructions, etc. of a board game.

Clifford D. Hyra 11.01.10 at 7:55 pm


Keep in mind that a copyright only protects against someone copying your logo, and not someone who independently comes up with a similar logo and starts using it. To protect against that, you would need a trademark registration. A name cannot be protected by copyright, you need trademark protection for that.

Really, you need an attorney’s assistance. For a couple hundred dollars, you can get an expert to help you obtain copyright protection for your website. It is worth it. If you really cannot afford an attorney, I recommend reading the instructions online at You should not need to submit a physical CD.

Kristy 11.03.10 at 2:13 am

I have written a book that I would like to send to a publisher. Should I copyright it before sending it? Do some publishers refuse copyrighted material?

Jorge 11.08.10 at 8:01 am

I’m am very confused about copyright and trademark laws. I made a shirt with a simple phrase on it, pretty much one word and i’m not to sure on how to protect it. Would it be a copyright or a trademark? Thank you.

Louis 11.11.10 at 9:08 pm

What if you have a web based business “Software as a Service”. What are the steps I should take in order to protect the name of the business and website, design of how the website looks (Front end Design) the design uses animations and trendy themes, and finally the actual application design (the functionality of the website). Do I trademark the name of the business and website? copyright the design (animation)? and should I apply for a patent inorder to protect the actual application of my website? if I do apply for a patent? which one should I apply for a provisional? what if I already have the application ready? should I apply for a non provisional patent?

And if you can give me an idea of the cost of each (Trademark, Copyright, Patent) I will greatly appreciate it!

I look forward to your response!

Clifford D. Hyra 11.11.10 at 9:55 pm


It sounds like you have the idea. Trademarks protect names, copyrights protect designs, patents protect functionality/applications.

Costs can vary greatly depending on what attorney you use and, in the case of patents, the type of application you apply for as well as the technology and difficulty you run into trying to get your patent granted. I will contact you directly with my own fees. Generally speaking, you can expect maybe $250-$500 for a copyright, $750-1500 for a trademark, and $10,000-30,000 for a patent from beginning to end (over several years).

Clifford D. Hyra 11.11.10 at 10:01 pm


You may not be able to protect it. One word cannot be protected by copyright. If you use the word as a brand name, it can be protected as a trademark. Generally, clothing designs are NOT protected by copyright or anything else, in the U.S. anyway.

Clifford D. Hyra 11.11.10 at 10:05 pm


I do not do a lot of work with publishers. My understanding is that usually publishers like to apply for the copyright registration themselves, but I do not see why they would refuse a work with a registered copyright. At the same time, a reputable publisher is not likely to rip off your manuscript.

Shermaine 11.22.10 at 9:19 am

I’d like to register a copyright regarding a changeable wall concept (architecture and interior design). Is that considered creative work and can it be copyright? Or is it a patent?

Clifford D. Hyra 11.22.10 at 3:20 pm

Architectural designs are protected by copyright. The appearance of a decorative design generally can be protected by copyright. If you want to protect the functionality of a design, e.g. the way the wall is moved, etc., that could only be protected by a patent. A patent on the method of movement could cover any system that functioned in that manner, regardless of appearance.

Kissyc 11.26.10 at 8:18 pm

Mr. Hyra,
I have an idea for a website/movie type deal.. i was wondering if a copyright would protect that idea and anything that might branch out from that idea? if so do i need to send in a detailed copy of the idea and all that would be happening? and if something more pops into my head after i have received the copy right can i use it safely without having it stolen? thank you for your time,

Clifford D. Hyra 12.03.10 at 9:47 pm

Copyrights do not protect ideas per se. Ideas for movies, books, etc., are taken and used by others with some frequency. Copyright only protects the expression of your idea in a tangible form, such as writing, drawings, or videos. A script, mock-up, character sketches, plot outline, all would be protected by copyright. For the best protection, copyrights should be registered with the Copyright Office.

chris 12.10.10 at 7:08 pm

I have over a hundred funny sayings and some have artwork that I will be putting on T-shirts that I will be selling. Is it possible to copyright them, and if so how would I file them.

Clifford D. Hyra 12.16.10 at 6:12 pm

Original text and graphics can be copyrighted and should be registered with the Copyright Office. If you need help completing the online forms, I recommend contacting a copyright attorney.

Laraine 12.17.10 at 3:08 am

My son presently is in prison because he would not be a snitch but before he went in and during the time he has been in there, he has asked me to register a copyright on his clothing line that once he gets out will be made and sold and probably open a store of some sort. We are not able to afford an attorney, registering a trademark or anything like that. The fee of Copyrighting is more in our ballpark. His main purpose to secure the name of his clothing line to be sold is so no one else can “steal” it and use it. Can you give me any advice please?

Clifford D. Hyra 12.17.10 at 2:49 pm


Business and brand names cannot be copyrighted. They can only be trademarked.

Ian 01.02.11 at 7:49 pm

So if i write a book and want to copyright it, would i then have to trademark the title of the book since the book title may be only one word?

Clifford D. Hyra 01.04.11 at 4:12 pm


Yes, the copyright for the text of a book is separate from a trademark for the title of the book. The title cannot be copyrighted. Keep in mind that the purpose of a trademark is to prevent confusion in the market, so it may not even be necessary to trademark the title. Would someone be confused between your book and another if they had similar titles but different authors, cover art, and sizes? It might not be an issue.

anony-moose 02.09.11 at 12:59 am

I have an idea for a film written out as a Treatment / Sinopsis
Where I describe the style of the film, genre, even possible casting as well as story and details.
I showed my professor whom is a film producer these documents, but now I fear he might use them.

Should I copyright them to protect myself and the rights to have money if the film is made? If not what should I do and what is the price tag?

Clifford D. Hyra 03.17.11 at 3:20 am

In the United States, copyright protection is generally the only kind of protection available for documents relating to movie or other entertainment ideas. However, the actual ideas contained in the document are not protected, only the actual text of the document. There really is no protection for general plot ideas- these should be discussed under an NDA if you want to avoid having them used by others. Story and character details could be protected, depending on their nature and the level of detail.

Lisha 03.27.11 at 4:21 pm

Would a design for a tshirt need to be protected by copyright or trademark?

Clifford D. Hyra 04.28.11 at 3:56 pm

If the design is a logo for a company that makes the t-shirt, it could be protected as a trademark. If it is a graphic design that is “conceptually separable” from the t-shirt, it could be protected by copyright as an artwork.

Other t-shirt designs might not be protectable by copyright or trademark. Fashion designs generally cannot be protected by copyright in the U.S. Something can only be protected as a trademark if it serves to identify the source of a product or service. Therefore, a merely decorative design on a t-shirt could not be registered as a trademark, if it is not source-indicative.

jo jo 10.20.11 at 8:33 pm

I have an internet idea- a website idea. Is that a copyright or a patent?

max 10.23.11 at 9:27 pm

I am wondering “How do you copyright an app?” like an app that you want to create for iphone?

FreedomD 10.23.11 at 9:35 pm

Hello! I just completed a documentary and I’m submitting it to film-festivals. I wanted to know how to protect my idea and film from the masses? Also should I copyright the title of the film? Can I get sued if someone else uses the same title as my film?

FreedomD 10.23.11 at 9:37 pm

Also…where can I hire a good attorney in LA?

Clifford D. Hyra 10.25.11 at 3:26 am

Jo jo,

It could be both. A patent to cover the functionality of the website, and a copyright to cover the text and graphics.

Clifford D. Hyra 10.25.11 at 3:27 am

An app is a computer program. There are good instructions at the Copyright Office website or you can consult an attorney.

Clifford D. Hyra 10.25.11 at 3:30 am


You cannot protect the idea per se, but you can protect your documentary by registering your copyright in it. You could trademark the title of the film. You would not generally get sued for trademark infringement if you were using the mark first. You do not need an attorney in LA necessarily, since IP law is generally federal law, however you might try the state bar referral service of Avvo.

M Sessom 11.14.11 at 12:36 pm

You explained earlier, on 10-18-10,

The only advantage to copyrighting different works together is that you save money on the application fees. Copyrighting multiple works together would not stop you from later publishing them individually or enforcing your copyright for one of the works by itself. However, it would make it more difficult to license your works individually.

Could you explain what the process would be inorder to license the work individually, though it would be difficult. Also would you express your view concerning would this perhaps being the best way to start out for beginning and novices and gradually registering each work indivdual or will that not be necessary. Thanks for your consideration.

Clifford D. Hyra 12.05.11 at 5:01 pm

You just have to be very clear about what exactly you are licensing. You cannot simply say “the work in U.S. copyright registration X”, because the license is only for a part of that work.

If there is a large number of designs capable of being registered together and the copyright owner is on a budget, it generally makes sense to register them together.

Sharon 01.12.12 at 6:54 am

I have a degree in Graphic Design, I just got fired from a company (a restaurant) which I did some design for. The design was not a part of my job title, I just did it out of kindness and passion for the company. Now that they have let me go, they expect me to hand over all of my designs. Is this legal? Do I have rights to my designs? They never paid me for the designs. I haven’t even said anything to them about still using the hard copies or compressed images they have. What do I do? HELP!!!!

Lisa 01.19.12 at 1:29 am

Hi, and thank you so much for all your helpful information.
I have created and added something simple/different to a golden hooped earring.
Would I trademark, or copyright this jewelry design?
Thank you.

Clifford D. Hyra 01.19.12 at 3:03 am

Generally speaking, for anything you do within the scope of your employment the copyright is owned by your employer. Outside of the scope of your employment, you own the copyright. Whether it is within the scope of your employment or not could be a tough question that an attorney would have t research and give you an opinion on.

Clifford D. Hyra 01.19.12 at 3:04 am

A jewelry design would be protected by copyright. Trademarks are for business and brand names, logos, etc.

Jordan 01.27.12 at 9:30 am

would it cost $35 if you registered an entire album or would you be charged $35 per song. Also, say i submitted it and start promoting, playing shows, etc, and during the “waiting period” a song i submitted was stolen. Could i claim it and the copyright i submitted still uphold or am i just s.o.l? Thanks.

Jordan 01.27.12 at 10:36 am

Also, are any of these other companys such as legal zoom or websites that offer copyrights and trademarks legit?

Clifford D. Hyra 01.27.12 at 4:53 pm

If you register an entire album in one application, the government fee would be $35. Generally, multiple works can be regsitered together if they are released together or are all unpublished.

A copyright registration’s effective date is the day it is filed. So, a work being stolen while you are waiting for your certificate will not affect it.

I cannot comment on unspecified websites that assist with filing trademark and copyright applications. I am sure many of them are “legitimate.” I would recommend using a good attorney though, at least initially.

marcus 03.18.12 at 11:52 pm

I’ve created an bible pitch for an animated series which is already copyright for over a year now. But is my work still protected if I managed to keep the main title of the name but update with a different subtitle?

Clifford D. Hyra 03.19.12 at 2:56 am


Copyright does not really have anything to do with titles. If you have registered your copyrights in an animated series you created, you will be protected regardless of what name you use. Or do you mean you trademarked the series name? In that case, as long as you are still using that same name, that name will be covered. The subtitle would not receive protection as a federally registered trademark.

Jenny 04.16.12 at 2:36 am

My husband and I have created a clothing brand and designs to use on tshirts, for example. I want to make sure my designs and our brand name are protected. Should we file for a copyright or trademark? Will it protect all designs under our brand name or just specific ones?


Clifford D. Hyra 04.16.12 at 5:29 am

Brand names should be protected by trademark registrations. Clothing designs cannot be protected by copyright (or trademark), although graphic designs put on clothing can be copyrighted separately from the clothing itself.

stephanie 05.20.12 at 6:38 am

i am working on a book of my great grandfathers life as an
artist. The book will include photographs of his work that need to be protected. Would it be one fee for the book or multiple fees for the actual photo?

thank u…

Clifford D. Hyra 05.29.12 at 6:24 pm


When there is a work that includes text and photographs, each has a different author, and they were not produced for a joint work, I would register separate copyrights, one for the book in the author’s name and (at least) one for the photographs in the photographer’s (or other copyright holder’s) name.

Chris 06.29.12 at 2:02 pm

Hi, my wife does crochet. Can I copyright her designs?

Clifford D. Hyra 07.01.12 at 5:01 am


That depends. Generally, the designs of useful articles like clothing cannot be copyrighted. However, if they include a graphic design (e.g. a picture of a face on a shirt), that graphic design can be protected. Also, paper (2D) patterns for useful items may be protectable.

Lewis 07.07.12 at 2:13 am

Thank you for such useful information.

I have created what I believe to be a “new” graphic organizer but is based on the idea of another popular graphic organizer. I know that ideas are not copyrightable but just because I think my work is non-derivative and “new” doesn’t mean someone else will agree, it shares some of the same features. Will a copyright lawyer look at my work, and the work the idea came from, and be able to tell me if I am “safe”? Would this fall under their hourly rate?

Thank you in advance,

Clifford D. Hyra 07.24.12 at 6:49 pm


Obviously the question is rather subjective, so no lawyer is going to be able to tell you for sure. But, any lawyer with experience in this area should be willing to give you their opinion on the matter and to back it up with relevant case law, if you are willing to pay them for their research. Yes, it would probably be billed at an hourly rate and could take several hours.

George Webber 11.11.12 at 6:49 pm


So far from my reading it seems I would want to Trademark my Products Name and Slogan (are those two separate Trademarks or can they be Trademarked together?). But the Poduct itself I’m not sure if I need a Copyright or a Patent on the design/concept of the product.

It’s a simple product that while original, it would be very easy to copy or replicate in one way or another which is what I’d like to protect against.

Thanks for any help you provide.

Clifford D. Hyra 11.13.12 at 3:45 am


Product names and slogans are different trademarks. Unless they are always used together, I generally recommend registering them separately, but that will depend on the specific facts of the situation. Functional products cannot be protected by copyright, unless there is some non-functional design that is separable from the product itself, such as a graphic image on the surface of the product. A design patent could be used to protect the ornamental appearance of a product, or a utility patent could be sued to protect its functionality- though utility patents are rather expensive. You might benefit from a consultation with an IP attorney.

Sam 11.15.12 at 4:41 pm


I am writing a book and would like to copywright the book to protect it.
I understand it can take as long as 22 months for the copyright to be completed. Is there a faster way to get copyrights?

Clifford D. Hyra 11.16.12 at 7:02 pm


If you submit electronically, it usually takes much less time, maybe 9 months. You can also pay extra to get expedited handling. In any case, your protection is retroactive to the date of filing, so the delay is not usually a big issue unless there is imminent litigation.

Dora Kerr 12.01.12 at 9:34 pm

If I have copyrights on a book of short stories but want to just publish one story from that book, would that story still be protected by the copyright of the book?

Clifford D. Hyra 12.03.12 at 8:23 pm


Generally, it does not take a lot of copying to constitute copyright infringement. Just taking a few quotes from a book may be considered substantial copying and therefore infringement. Therefore, I would ordinarily anticipate that lifting an entire story from a copyright protected book of short stories would be infringing.

Joe 03.27.13 at 6:53 pm

Is the registration fee different than the copyright fee on various designs?

Jon 03.29.13 at 4:48 pm


I am in post-production on a show that I have produced myself. Other than the original content of the show, the show consists of many relatively unknown/obscure music videos from the past and/or retro videos from around the world, giving the show a very global feel. Most of the stuff I will be showing, 99% of an U.S. audience will not be familiar with…..guaranteed. How should I start to approach a copyright on a show of this nature? I’m very interested in how MTV (when they played music videos) or a show like Tosh.0 handles this situation, as they also primarily rely on what would seem to be copyrighted material. My first assumption is, well, they go out and get permissions………I’m not sure how easy that will be when dealing with retro/vintage material, often pulled from other parts of the world. Thank you for any, and all, info/help you may be able to provide.

Clifford D. Hyra 04.05.13 at 9:36 pm


Sorry, I do not understand your question. There is a copyright registration fee for submitting an application for copyright registration. That is the only government fee that is charged unless you end up appealing a refusal to register.

Clifford D. Hyra 04.05.13 at 9:37 pm


I would go about that extremely carefully and I would hire a copyright attorney to assist.

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