How do I copyright literary work? 3 Answers as of December 02, 2010

How do I copyright literary work such as a short poem or work of fiction? What are the initial steps that I must take and how much does the process cost? Do I have to get a patent lawyer? Thanks.

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
No you can do it yourself online at It costs $40.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/2/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
One does not copyright a work. Copyrights are created as soon as an original work is reduced to a tangible medium of expression. One merely registers the copyright that already exists. The process is simple. Go to the copyright office website, and fill out form eCO. The fee is only $35 per registration.

You can do this yourself, but there are a few tricks, such as designating whether the work is a work for hire, handling jointly created works, and disclaiming non-original portions of the work. An attorney should charge only about $100 to handle the filing, so its probably best to get assistance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/2/2010
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
Obtaining a copyright registration is a fairly easy do it yourself project.

Just go to the copyright office website at and fill in form CO online, following the instructions as you go along. Have your work ready to submit as a word processed document.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/1/2010
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