Cheapest, easiest way to register copyright fast?
August 19, 2014 10:42 AM   Subscribe

I would like to register copyright for four works to fulfill a funding agency administrative requirement. They do not require that the registration be done in any particular country. I am registering solely to fulfill this requirement so I would like to do it in the simplest and cheapest way possible. Unless registering somewhere will somehow abridge my rights in an irrevocable way, I do not care about the legal aspects, only that registration is done by 15 September, if possible.

I am in Canada now. I can register online with Canada for CAD 50.

The U.S. allow allows online application and only charges USD 35 for a single registration. A couple of the works have multiple authors, so I would need to pay USD 55 for those in the U.S.

Any other good options? Experience with registration time?
posted by grouse to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Use either of those options if they meet your needs. It is very simple and quick. Just read the instructions. In answer to your specific question, there are no apparent risks or downsides. IANYL, TINLA.
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:44 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

In Germany Copyright does not need to be registered (and you can't). Whenever you create something its copyrighted. Your turn to proove the date for it. Not sure whether this helps in your case.
posted by oxit at 12:42 PM on August 19, 2014

The cheapest is probably to register your works in Kenya for the low, low price of 1000 Kenyan shillings ($11.32 USD). It might not be the easiest. Their web page claims it can be done online, but there doesn't seem to be a form provided, and they want you to have an oath commissioned. But are you actually paying for it out of your own pocket? How much trouble are you willing to go to to shave a few dollars off the Canadian price of $200 ($182.77 USD) or (assuming you meant "couple" literally) the American price of $180?
posted by ubiquity at 12:51 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The last time I checked, which was earlier this year, the US Copyright Office was operating on an approximate nine-month turnaround from electronic filing to delivery of registration. Note that this does not affect the effective date of registration but merely how long it takes to get a registration certificate in-hand. Note also that we experienced a federal government shutdown in October that affected the workload.

Obviously this isn't legal advice, just information. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 12:58 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Registration is not required in Berne Convention countries to gain copyright; it's granted automatically at fixation. It still serves two purposes; to help establish ownership in the event of legal dispute, and in some jurisdictions (such as the US) to allow for claims of statutory damages upon infringement. There should be no drawbacks with registering works, it's just a formal mechanism by which you can later prove ownership. IANAL etc.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:58 PM on August 19, 2014

To add to what cribcage said, turnaround time in the US can be dependent on the type of work being registered, because it is my understanding that the applications get routed to different departments, and certain departments issue registrations more quickly. I've seen registrations issue pretty quickly, or take over a year. (standard disclaimer: this is not legal advice).
posted by Shebear at 9:25 PM on August 19, 2014

If the legal aspect of copyright isn't significant, is this actually some broader requirement having to do with placing a veneer of "legitimacy" on these works? If so, I've read that ISBN book numbers are issued for free in Canada, so perhaps that would be a substitute (or maybe help with easier or speedier registration of copyright somewhere.) Wikipedia says,
In Canada, the stated purpose of issuing International Standard Book Numbers for no cost was to encourage Canadian culture.
It's been a while since I looked into it but I think the capability to issue ISBNs was pretty widely delegated and I came across a database on a web site where you could look up organizations that could issue you one.
posted by XMLicious at 9:47 PM on August 19, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks guys, just registered the first copyright in Canada. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office promises either registration or notice of deficiency within five business days ("How your application for registration of a copyright is processed"), so knowing that the U.S. takes much longer was very helpful. Will probably do one every day to make an unambiguous ordering.

It was tempting to do it Kenya just because, but the cost of getting the oaths notarized would actually make it more expensive. The online Canadian registration system is obviously much easier too.
posted by grouse at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2014

This might be me being an idiot but is there any reason you can't protect your work under creative commons?
posted by vapidave at 6:56 PM on August 20, 2014

Response by poster: The requirement is literally for a "registered copyright". There are no substitutes.
posted by grouse at 7:25 PM on August 20, 2014

Response by poster: I registered all four copyrights. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office sent me a certificate in each case indicating that the registration had issued the day after filing. I got the certificates within a week. Highly recommended for all your pro forma registration needs.
posted by grouse at 11:57 AM on September 13, 2014

Thanks for the update. I haven't registered Canadian copyrights; that's useful to know.
posted by cribcage at 2:52 PM on September 13, 2014

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