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Copyright Registration of Periodicals, Newspapers, and Magazines

Copyright law covers many subject matters, such as:

  • Literature
  • Music
  • Art
  • Architectural designs

Magazines, periodicals, and newspapers fall under the literary category. Many famous magazines and newspapers benefit from copyright protection. These printed materials include New York City's "The Wall Street Journal" and magazines like “Time." Even global publications like "The Economist" have protections for American publications.

Follow along as FindLaw leads you step-by-step through registering your printed material work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Periodicals, Newspapers, and Magazines Copyright Overview

After many months of hard work writing, you've achieved your goal of publishing a series of news articles. While you may not be winning the Pulitzer Prize or being featured on podcasts, you want to preserve the ownership rights for all your hard work. That's where copyright protection comes into play for printed materials like periodicals, newspapers, and magazines.

As an author, even if you don't register your work it still receives basic copyright protection against copyright infringement. You could collect damages if your work is infringed upon. There are benefits to federal registration. You may be able to collect money damages up to a statutory limit. There are also fewer hoops to jump through, such as proving the harm caused to you when filing a lawsuit.

Copyright registration is a necessary legal process that grants copyright owners exclusive rights over their original works.

Copyright protection ensures that others cannot use, reproduce, distribute, or create derivative works based on your copyrighted work. Copyright holders have the right to grant permission for others to reprint their work. Reprinting is common for news stories from magazines and newspapers when websites want to republish their stories.

Steps for a Copyright Registration Application

Step 1

Select the appropriate application for your work:

  • For single serial issues, use Form SE. This category is specific to registering for periodicals, newspapers, and magazines.
  • For group registration of serials, refer to Circular 62B.
  • For most groups of issues, use Form S.E./Group for reference before submitting this form electronically.
  • For non-dramatic literary works, use the Form TX.
  • For group registration of short online works, use GRTX.

Step 2

Put into one envelope or package:

  • The completed application form
  • Payment for the nonrefundable filing fee to the "Register of Copyrights"
  • Any additional single-issue and group registration filing fees
  • Nonreturnable copies of the material for registration with the Office. See Special Deposit Requirements for details on deposit requirements for single issues, a group of issues, and newspapers or newsletters.

Step 3

Physically File Your Application

You can mail your application to:

Library of Congress

Copyright Office

101 Independence Avenue, S.E.

Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

Electronically File Your Application

You can also file online. It is easy and convenient, and you can pay the registration fee with your credit or debit card.

Your registration is effective when the Copyright Office receives all required payments, materials, deposits, and your application. The typical time frame to receive a registration certificate is approximately four months.

For more details, please see:

Tips for Copyright Registration for Periodicals, Newspapers, and Magazines

  • The first publication of a periodical or magazine is important for copyright protection. The first publication establishes the literary works' copyright term and is the starting point for the copyright registration process.
  • Although it is not required for copyright protection, displaying a copyright notice such as (© [First Publication Year] [ Copyright Owner Name]) on the published materials gives a reminder to others that the content is copyrighted.
  • Trade publications are magazines or periodicals focusing on a specific industry or trade. They report industry-specific news, trends, and information.
  • Dissertations are also eligible for copyright protection. Many academic institutions encourage students to register their dissertations with the copyright office.

Get Copyright Law Legal Advice

You should seek legal advice if you are a startup company or small business owner wanting to start a new blog or create a business magazine. Let a legal expert help you register your work with the correct federal office or file a lawsuit for infringement, if necessary. Contact an experienced intellectual property attorney in your state. For more information, visit FindLaw's Intellectual Property section.

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Contact a qualified business attorney to help you identify how to best protect your business' intellectual property.

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