Although your blog is protected by copyright the moment you publish it to the Web, you should consider registering your blog with the United States Copyright Office. Doing so will give you additional protection, including the right to sue and collect damages if someone infringes your content. You can copyright your entire blog as it exists on the date of registration, but subsequent updates will require additional filings. In addition to registering your copyright, placing a copyright notice on your blog will let visitors know that you are serious about protecting your rights.
Place a copyright notice at the bottom of each page of your blog. This notice should include the word "Copyright" or the copyright symbol (the letter “c” within a circle), the year of publication, your name and the phrase "All Rights Reserved." You may place a copyright notice on your blog pages even if you have not yet filed for copyright registration.
Read More: What Is the Correct Form for a Copyright Notice?
Browse to the U.S. Copyright Office website and obtain a copyright registration form; alternately, you can file online. One advantage of filing online is that you'll pay a reduced filing fee; another benefit is that you can upload your blog directly to the Copyright Office rather than having to copy the pages to a CD and mail the disc to the Copyright Office.
Fill in the copyright application with your background information, the title of your blog, the year of completion, the date of publication and a statement indicating whether you have previously applied for copyright registration for your blog. You should register your blog as a literary work unless you intend to protect the visual aspects of your blog, in which case you should register the blog as a visual work.
Provide the Copyright Office with a copy of every page associated with your blog and all other material you wish to copyright. If you file online, you may upload the pages from your blog as HTML files. If you file a paper form, copy your entire blog to a CD and mail it to the Copyright Office with your application form.
Submit your completed form to the Copyright Office and pay the required filing fee. For online applications, as of 2012, the reduced filing fee is $35.
Copyright protection for your blog will not protect material in the public domain or material that has previously been copyrighted.
When you update your blog, you will need to file a new copyright application for any new content you've added. To avoid excessive filing fees, you may wish to only apply for a new copyright periodically and combine several updates in one registration.
- Copyright Authority: The Copyright Symbol Webpage
- Blogger Hints and Tips: Tools for Applying Copyright Protection to Your Blog
- Stanford University: Copyright Protection: What It Is, How It Works
- Savetz Publishing: How to Copyright a Web Site
- U.S. Copyright Office: eCO Online System
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: Legal Guide for Bloggers
Louis Kroeck started writing professionally under the direction of Andrew Samtoy from the "Cleveland Sandwich Board" in 2006. Kroeck is an attorney out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania specializing in civil litigation, intellectual property law and entertainment law. He has a B.S from the Pennsylvania State University in information science technology and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.