Should you register your copyright?
As the author of a dissertation, you automatically own the copyright to your work by virtue of being its author. Most dissertation authors will not find themselves in a situation where someone infringes on or violates the dissertation copyright by using it without proper credit or producing it as if it were someone else’s work.
Registering the copyright isn't necessary in many cases, though you may wish to consider it if your work has the potential to make money (such as book royalties). If you are concerned about infringement, it may be wise to pay the extra fee to register your copyright for the following reasons:
- Registration is a prerequisite for filing an infringement action against someone in court and serves as prima facie (legally sufficient) evidence of copyright validity.
- A copyright owner can recover statutory damages and attorney’s fees only if the work is registered prior to infringement or within three months of publication.
- A copyright owner can still register the copyright after learning about an infringement and file an action against the violator but is limited to actual damages and injunctive relief (the ability to stop the infringement).
How do I register for copyright?
If you are the sole owner and author of the entire dissertation or thesis, you can have ProQuest file for copyright on your behalf for a fee of $75.00. If your manuscript includes work(s) with multiple authors, you must file directly with the U.S. Copyright Office. For detailed information about copyright registration through ProQuest, please download the information sheet below.
You may file for copyright electronically with the U.S. Copyright Office, now or later. Please visit the U.S. Copyright Office website or click on the links below for more information about electronic filing.