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How do I Copyright Poetry?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated: Jan 30, 2024

In order to copyright poetry, you should first acquire the appropriate form from your country's copyright office. In many cases, the form can be requested by mail or downloaded from the copyright office's official website. Once the form is filled up, it must be sent back to the copyright office, along with a copy of the original poem. You might need to send a processing fee as well. The paperwork will then be processed by the copyright office, which will determine whether or not the copyright is approved.

There is often no need to formally copyright poetry. In many countries, basic intellectual property laws state that any original work created by a poet is automatically granted copyright protection. The only occasion in which a formal literary copyright must be secured is when the poem's original author intends to enforce this copyright in a court of law. Many poets whose works are published in a public forum file for a copyright immediately as a precaution against people who might possibly reproduce the poem as their own.

The first step in getting a formal intellectual property copyright is to secure the appropriate form from the local copyright office. The same form used to copyright lyrics and other written work is often used to copyright poetry as well. Individuals residing near the offices can get a hard copy of the form at the offices themselves. The forms can also be secured via mail request. Many copyright offices offer soft copies of the form for download at their official websites.

Once the form is secured, you should then fill in all information needed to copyright poetry. The data must be as accurate as possible and should be double-checked before submission. Some forms require a copy of the original poem to be included as an attachment. Once all the necessary information is provided, the form, along with any requested attachments and fees, should be sent back to the copyright office. When the office receives the request to copyright poetry, it will then process the paperwork for approval.

Approval of a literary copyright can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on your area's demand for copyrights. There are very few grounds for disapproving a request to copyright poetry, however, and most requests are passed for approval. The only cases in which an individual cannot legally get a copyright is if the necessary paperwork is completed insufficiently or if there is already enough evidence that the poem has been plagiarized. The latter rarely ever happens, as plagiarism disputes occur only after the poetry's copyright has been violated.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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