Is your work protected?

content creators copyright copyright protection mommypreneurship Jan 25, 2021

Let’s face it, at this point, we’re all content creators. It doesn’t matter if you’ve legally formed a business entity and create content for others as part of your job description. Even if the only content you create is for yourself, your works are likely copyrightable subject matter and protected under copyright law.  

As a content creator, your blog posts, Instagram captions, email funnel copy, newsletters, photography, videography, e-books and other digital content may all be copyrightable subject matter. The United States Copyright Office is the governmental organization tasked with the registration of copyrighted works. Prior to issuing a copyright registration, the Copyright Office conducts an analysis to determine copyright protection and eligibility by asking the following questions:

·      Is the work eligible for copyright protection?

·      Has the work been fixed in a tangible medium? Meaning is it in a tangible form (e.g., a book, a CD, a sculpture, etc.)

·      Does the work constitute copyrightable subject matter (as listed in the Copyright Act of 1976)

·      Is the work sufficiently original? Meaning is it original to the author and contain a minimal degree of creativity

If your work satisfies the above criteria, then it can be protected by copyright. Let’s look at those requirements a little closer.


All works (published or unpublished) created after January 1, 1978 are eligible for copyright protection.


This requirement is almost always met but understanding what it means is often hard for the average creator. The language from the Copyright Act states a work is copyrightable if it is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which [it] can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or indirectly with the aid of a machine or device.” It means that the work must be fixed in a material copy or a phonorecord “by or under the authority of the author” and the work must be “sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.” 

Most works already meet this requirement, such as a song on a CD or cassette, a poem saved on a data file, an article printed in a magazine, or an audiovisual work captured on film. Some things, however may not be fixed, such as a live performance that isn’t recorded or an improvisational speech. Any works that are only temporarily captured also fail to meet the fixation requirement, such as something that is projected briefly on a screen or only momentarily captured on a computer’s memory. 

Copyrightable Subject Matter

The Copyright Act lists the subject matter of copyright and it includes the following works: 

·       Literary works

·       Musical works, including any accompanying words

·       Dramatic works, including any accompanying music

·       Pantomimes and choreographic works

·       Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works

·       Motion pictures and other audiovisual works 

·       Sound recordings

·       Architectural works

·       Derivative works, compilations, and collective works


In order to qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original to the author, meaning it was created independently by the author, and it must possess some minimal degree of creativity.

Independent Creation means that the author created the work without copying someone else’s work. This doesn’t mean the work has to be novel. It just can’t be the result of copying. 

Creativity: Copyright law doesn’t require a high level of creativity, a slight amount of creative expression will do the job. Most works meet this requirement as long as they have an ounce of creative spark. 

Did you know that once you create an original work and fix it in a tangible medium that your work is protected? There is nothing additional that you have to do in order to have copyright protection because it’s a constitutional right. But you’ll want to obtain a registration certificate from the Copyright Office for additional benefits. Those benefits include:

·       The right to sue

·       Notice

·       Presumption of ownership 

·       Statutory damages

As a business owner, you should understand that most of what you’re creating is intellectual property and worthy of protection and has value. It’s not only important to know your worth but know what your content is worth as well. Protect your works. Periodt!


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