How to Copyright a Jewelry Design

By Contributor

Ideas and concepts for jewelry, no matter how original, are not protected by United States intellectual property law. Original jewelry designs may be protected by both copyright and patent law. In addition to standard protections you automatically receive when creating something new, you may also register your design for broader protections.

Under Section 102 of the Copyright Act, original jewelry designs are considered "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works" and are protected by copyright law automatically when the original work is created in a fixed form.

Although copyright protection is automatic, there are numerous incentives to registering your work with the US copyright office. By registering your work, you create a public record of your copyright claim on your jewelry design. This public record enables you to file a law suit to enforce your rights against anybody who later copies or otherwise infringes upon your work. Registering with the copyright office also gives you the right to record your registration with the United States Customs Service to protect your work against the importation of infringing copies. Moreover, timely registration with the copyright office allows the copyright holder the right to seek certain statutory damages not otherwise available in the event the work is infringed.

Take a number of very good photographs of your work from various angles. The photographs should graphically show the details of your jewelry design rather than be artsy presentations of your work.

Go online to the U.S. Copyright Office website and download the forms needed. You can also use the Electronic Copyright Office and submit the forms online and payment in the amount of $45. In most cases, it will take under an hour to submit your copyright electronically.

The copyright office will process the application and send a certificate of registration back in the mail. If there are problems with the application, you may get a call or letter from the US copyright office.

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