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Businesses and individuals around the world seek copyrights to protect information. But before you try to obtain a copyright, you should understand what a Copyright is and why you might need it to protect your creative works.
A Copyright is one of three ways to safeguard intellectual property, along with Trademarks and Patents. Trademarks are used to identify a unique brand, slogan or service, while Patents claim ownership of innovations: how they look or how they work. On the other hand, Copyrights protect "expressions of an idea": a book, audio recording, or even a piece of computer source code.
Wednesday, October 20th
If you're like most Americans, you can't afford expensive attorneys for your basic legal needs. LegalZoom came into existence specifically to help every person who needs help with the law, making high-quality assistance accessible no matter an individual's resources. Their services were originally limited to business formation, intellectual property issues, and estate planning; however, over the last two decades, LegalZoom has expanded to cover a very wide range of legal needs, serving almost 4 million customers.
Easy to understand
This service makes it extremely easy to understand everything related to copyright: why you need it, how it differs from patents and trademarks, and what to expect from the process. You'll pay a one-time fee of $114 (plus applicable federal filing fees), and there was even a seasonal promo at the time of our review that gave us a 10% discount.
Copyright registration process
The actual process for registering your copyright on LegalZoom is very fast:
It's up to the feds
Your registration is effective as soon as it's been accepted by the US Copy Office. You'll get a certificate via mail - just be aware that the last step can take anywhere from 8-12 months (it's a federal office; what can you expect?)
High customer satisfaction
LegalZoom gets very high marks from customers who have used their Copyright Registration service. You can see this for yourself by clicking on the "Reviews" section towards the bottom of the Copyright page. One of our favorite comments was from a business owner who said he'd spent thousands of dollars on legal fees over the previous 10 years, only because he hadn't discovered how affordable and efficient LegalZoom is.
A strong factor in customer satisfaction is LegalZoom's unparalleled satisfaction guarantee. If there's any part of the Copyright Registration service that fails to meet your expectations, just get in touch with the company and they'll make it right: fixing the problem, giving you a credit towards other services, or providing you a full refund. It's no surprise, with service like this, that LegalZoom enjoys an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau.
For Copyright Registration services you can trust to be accurate and affordable, there's no better option than LegalZoom. They earn our highest rating.
While My Corporation is focused on helping small business owners and entrepreneurs to tackle everything they need to start up and operate smoothly, their services extend to individuals who are looking for an affordable Copyright Registration provider to protect their personal creations from infringement.
Fees add up
While at first blush My Corporation is less expensive ($99) than some of the copyright registration services in our review, the fees start to add up. This company charges shipping and handling fees of $39, for starters. Then, when other services quoted us federal filing fees of $55, My Corporation told us we'd pay $65 for the same copyright registration.
Doesn't get any easier
But, other than the more expensive price tag, the copyright process with My Corporation is just as reputable as our first-place winner. To get started, you'll answer a series of questions about the work you're looking to copyright: what type of medium it is, whether or not you've already made your work public, what state you live in, and so on. Once you've paid the applicable fees mentioned earlier, My Corporation takes your completed paperwork and handles all of the filing with the US Copyright Office. It doesn't get much easier than that.
This service continues to have a wonderful reputation with respect to customer service, shown by an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and a 5-star average over many user reviews. Especially if you're nervous about the process of applying for copyright protection, you can rest assured that the customer service representatives at My Corporation will handle your questions and concerns patiently and knowledgeably.
We also like how clearly the site explains what a copyright is (and isn't), what copyright registration does for your creative product, and the option to apply for trademark filing if you determine that a trademark is more applicable to your situation (such as if you want to protect a business slogan).
Overall, My Corporation will provide you with Copyright Registration services that are affordable and accurate, and their fantastic customer service representatives stand ready to help you through the process as needed.
More than 20 million customers have used Rocket Lawyer for a variety of legal needs, such as writing a will or incorporating a business. Because Rocket Lawyer offers a free 7-day trial, you can do a monster download session and get everything in their content library that you could possibly want - including the forms they offer for Copyright Registration. After the first 7 days, monthly membership fees are $39.99.
4 copyright registration documents
There are four primary documents in Rocket Lawyer's library that pertain to copyright:
Online service is limited
How great is it that you can access all of those documents for free, right? We think so too. However, Rocket Lawyer comes up short with the one critical step, namely registering your copyright with the US Copyright Office. The "Manage Your Copyrights FAQ" section mentions that you have to file with that department in order to have a legally-registered copyright, but there's nothing to indicate that Rocket Lawyer helps you do that. Where do you send the forms? How much does it cost? You probably aren't going to get those answers with this service.
Attorney assistance available
If you want more personal attention, Rocket Lawyer does provide an attorney-fulfilled copryright service for $350. You can't order it online - it can only be purchased over the phone after speaking with a customer service specialist. However this is a good option for those feeling a little unsure about the copyright process.
Do it yourself
When it comes to Copyright Registration services, Rocket Lawyer winds up in the middle of the pack. You can't beat free access to legal documents - however you may also come up a few steps short of a fully-protected creative work if you rely on this service alone.
Copyrighted advertises as a service that can protect your websites and works - making sure that your creative labors and/or your websites aren't plagiarized, stolen, or used in other places online.
3 copyright registration categories
Generally speaking, their copyright registration services fall into three categories:
2 copyright registration packages
The first two services are grouped together as a package, so you'll get both even if you only need one or the other. Available plans include the Professional for $9.95/month (or $99.95/year) and the Business for $19.95/month ($199.95/year). Depending on which package you choose, you'll get anywhere from 100-300 registered works per month, 25-100 protected websites (1,000-3,000 pages per site), 10-20 Gb backup storage, and discounts on the Takedowns service.
The Takedowns service is an extra $99 and can be used to challenge any site that shows duplicate content that you own. They claim that you can even use the service to get ex-significant others to remove your photos from their websites.
Could be clearer
Copyrighted doesn't do a very good job of explaining how each of those features is used, or how they protect your content and creative works. And, there's absolutely zero registration of your copyright with the US Copyright Office - so what protection do you actually get? Nothing that would be recognized in an infringement lawsuit, that's for sure.
Free basic plan
The best thing Copyrighted has going for it is its free Basic plan. You can get 5 registered works covered each month, 1 protected website with up to 100 pages, and 1 Gb of backup storage at no charge. Whether or not that service really gives you any value for those free items is up to you to determine.
No contact information
In fact, it's hard to verify anything about Copyrighted. Their only contact information is an online form: no phone number, no address, not even a customer service email address. We couldn't find any independently-verified information about this company either, like a listing with the Better Business Bureau or user testimonials. Even searching for RPM Inc., the business who holds the copyright on this website, we came up with nothing.
Unable to recommend
Copyrighted offers a free account that lets you try their service before committing to a paid plan. But without a reliable history of satisfied customers and no way to contact the company directly, this copyright registration service will remain towards the bottom of our rankings.
At first glance, Copyright Registration Service sounds like an incredible value: up to 15 years of registration for $125 or less. Compared with other services in our review - who charge hundreds of dollars plus federal filing fees - this copyright registration company could get your attention on price alone.
You get what you pay for
Unfortunately, the idea that "you get what you pay for" couldn't be more true when it comes to CRS. Here's why: your fees get you CRS' registration with the IP Rights Office. Sounds nice and official, right? Dig into it a little further and you'll discover that the IP Rights Office is actually the parent business that offers the registration service. In other words, you're paying CRS $45 to $125 to register your copyright... with CRS' parent company.
Make it sound important
CRS/The IP Rights Office tries to make it sound like you'll really need this service if you want to protect your copyright internationally, particularly in countries governed by the Berne Convention. But, do your homework and you'll quickly learn that the Berne Convention doesn't require you to have any formal copyright registration in order to file an infringement suit: most of the countries in the Convention don't even have a formal process for registering one.
Benefits? We couldn't find any
In the U.S., you'd be absolutely right in thinking that you have to have a registered copyright if you want to bring an infringement case to court. However, unless you've previously registered your copyright with the US Copyright Office - not the IP Rights Office or any other place - you're out of luck. And, yet again, the services offered by CRS have zero benefit for you.
Get something for your money
Bottom line? Copyright Registration Service gives you practically zero value - and worse, could leave you thinking you're protected, when in reality, you've got nothing to prove in a US court that you registered your copyright according to federal requirements. Although you'll spend more with another copyright registration service, you'll actually get something for your money.
The most commonly-copyrighted creative works include the following:
In the United States, you automatically own the copyright of any work you create. But, if you want to protect your song, sculpture, or even your meme-worthy selfie from being used without your permission, only a copyright that has been registered with the US Copyright Office gives you the ability to sue for infringement and prove that the work is actually yours.
So, back to the question: which Copyright Registration services can help you navigate all of the steps required to ensure that your creative products aren't used or claimed by someone else? As you consider your options, these criteria can help you choose the right one for your needs:
TopConsumerReviews has reviewed and ranked the best Copyright Registration Services available today. We hope this information helps you protect all of your creative endeavors from infringement so that you can stay focused on doing what you love.
Select any 2 Copyright Registration Services to compare them head to head
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