What two criteria must work meet to be eligible for copyright?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Copyright Law

Copyright helps to protect creative works. It is legal protection offered by the United States government.

When you create a piece, you can get automatic copyrights on it. But you must meet two criteria to secure this protection.


All copyrighted works must be original. You cannot copy someone else’s work. It needs to be something you created to meet the legal definition of creative work. It also needs to be an original piece, meaning it cannot be a title, name or phrase. It has to have significance to it that makes it something nobody else has created before. Short pieces, such as titles, are too easily reproduced and lack substantial creativity, which is why they are not able to copyright.


Your work also must be fixed. This means you put it into a tangible form. Once you fix a piece, it gets automatic copyright protection. Fixing your work makes it permanent and creates a record of your creative creation. If you do not put your work into a tangible form of some type, you cannot copyright it.

Copyright protection occurs as soon as you fix an original work. You do not need to do anything further to get protection. However, you do have the right to register your copyright, which creates a legal record that you own the copyright. This can come in handy if someone tries to copy your work. It also gives you legal rights in court. You can register with the U.S. Copyright Office. You will have to fill out an application and provide copies of your work to seek registration.