How to Renew a Copyright Registration

Ownership rights are not automatically perpetual in nature. The law grants ownership to the creator and his/her heirs during a finite period of time. A few months before the expiration of the current copyright registration, an application of renewal must be submitted. It is the responsibility of the copyright owner to renew the registration timely. Otherwise, he/she runs the risk that the work will become public domain and all rights and benefits of the exclusive use of the work will be lost. Many great works we enjoy today became public domain because copyrights for them were not timely claimed. A good example is multiple Christmas songs and movies we regularly hear and watch during the holiday season. They are royalties and licenses free, which may be a partial reason for multiple channels to translate them over and over.

The form for renewal of the copyright registration must be filled out and submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office with the filing fee. If multiple applications are being submitted simultaneously, a payment for the total amount should be sent rather than separate checks. All checks or money orders should be made payable to the Register of Copyrights. Cash is not accepted. The filing and processing fees are not refundable regardless of whether or not the renewal registration was granted. Accordingly, it is worth it to retain an experienced intellectual property attorney who can assist with the process.

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