Frequently Asked Questions: Registering Works
What can be registered?
Any original creative work which has been recorded in some way may be registered through the CRS. This includes textual material such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reference, scripts, screenplays, etc.; audio material such as music, lyrics, speeches (whether in written or audio form), etc.; visual material such as drawings, paintings, photographs, plans, logos, designs, films, cartoons, etc.; computer material such as websites, computer programs, databases, etc. This list is not exhaustive and in general any creative work which is original, unique, and recorded in some way can be registered through the CRS for the purpose of protecting copyright.
Is the CRS provided for published or unpublished works?
The CRS is intended primarily for the registration of unpublished works, as there are generally state-specific procedures in place for the registration of published works. You may register published works if you wish, however.
Can I register an idea for a work?
No. Copyright does not protect ideas, only a business or individual's specific presentation of those ideas. For instance, a scientist who writes an article about a new theory cannot claim copyright over that theory, and cannot prevent other scientists from discussing that theory in other articles. The scientist can, however, register the copyright over their own article, and can stop other people from reproducing it. Likewise, if a fiction writer writes a story about a trip to the moon they can register their copyright over their story, but they cannot stop other people from writing other stories about trips to the moon. It is the story as a whole that is covered by copyright, not the idea of a trip to the moon.
Depending on what your idea is, you may be able to register it as a patent. The institutions handling these matters will vary from nation to nation and you should consult an IP lawyer in your local jurisdiction for advice.
Can I register a name/title?
No. Names, titles, and short phrases by themselves are not subject to copyright. However, if they are combined with images and/or graphical design elements then they may be registered through the CRS as a logo or graphical design.
You may be able to register a name, title, or short phrase as a trade mark. The institutions handling these matters will vary from nation to nation and you should consult an IP lawyer in your local jurisdiction for advice.
Who can register works?
Anyone who has created an original work may register their work through the CRS. This includes writers, artists, composers, photographers, computer programmers, and anyone else who creates original works. Nationality and place of residence are generally not considerations, as copyright law is governed by international conventions which assure all residents of the subscribed countries certain minimum rights (for more information see "What countries are covered?"). Any representative of a business may register a work on behalf of the business (though it is generally advisable for a business to have one person managing a single account covering all their registrations).
What countries are covered?
All countries which have signed the Berne Convention are required to protect the copyright of works created in other Berne Convention countries. This means that if your work is protected by copyright in one Berne Convention nation it is protected in all other Berne Convention nations automatically. Most countries are signed up to the Berne Convention (172 of the approximately 190 countries in the world), but for a full list click here. The IP Rights Office was established as an organization with international scope to reflect the international nature of copyright law. If your work was created in a Berne Convention nation then registration of your work through the CRS will help protect your rights throughout the majority of the world.
Some Berne Convention nations may have additional restrictions, rights, and/or requirements which go above and beyond the requirements of the Convention, however these do not affect the basic rights as laid out in the Convention. For specific details relating to individual nation states consult a qualified IP lawyer in your local jurisdiction.
Is my country signed up to the Berne Convention?The following nations are signatories of the Berne Convention, as at the time of writing (October 2016):
Are registered works protected internationally, or do they have to be registered separately in each country?
If your work was created in one of the 172 nations which are part of the Berne Convention (click here for a full list of the included nations) then your work will be protected in all other Berne Convention nations. It is therefore not necessary to seek protection in each individual nation. The vast majority of countries are signed up to the Berne convention, however nations which are not signatories of the Convention are outside the scope of the IP Rights Office and the CRS, and you would need to consult a qualified IP lawyer regarding them if they are of concern to you.
Should I register under my name or my business's name?
Registrations should be made under the legal name of the person or body which owns the copyright. If you create a work in the course of employment you will probably find that the business employing you owns the copyright, however you should check your contract of employment for clarification. If you are the owner of your own business you should register the work under the name of the body you anticipate will use or profit from the work. For instance, if the work in question is a website for your business then it should be registered in the name of the business. If it is a novel you have written which is unrelated to your business then it should be registered in your own name.
Can works be registered to more than one person / business?
Yes. If a work has been a collaborative effort between multiple individuals, list all names in the "Your name" field. If the work is a collaborative effort between multiple businesses, list all the business names in the "Business name" field.
In the address field, provide all the addresses of the registrants, one after the other.
In the "Post / zip code" and "Country" fields, enter the post / zip code and the country of the person or business who will be making payment.
If I am using a name other than my legal name (such as a pen name or my maiden name) what name should I register my work under?
Your work should be registered under your legal name. Any professional pseudonyms that you use should be inserted in the appropriate field during registration. Your legal name and any professional pseudonyms will be displayed on your registration.
Why is it advisable to register a work?
If you have created a work which has value to you then you need to be able to protect it from being copied, stolen, or subject to other unauthorised use. To do this, you need to be able to prove that you are the rightful owner of the work. If someone else publishes your work under their name then they will be assumed to be the rightful copyright-holder, unless you can prove otherwise. Registering your work through the CRS provides independent third-party verification of your ownership of your work, helping to protect your rights and avoid lengthy and/or unsuccessful legal proceedings. By displaying the CRS seal on your work, you can also discourage potential plagiarists from misappropriating your work.
Can works be registered online?
Yes. To register a work, click here.
Can works be registered by post?
No. In 2006 the IP Rights Office took the decision not to use paper submissions or archiving due to the high processing and warehousing costs involved. Following the 2006 launch of the CRS website the IP Rights Office accepts registrations exclusively online in digital format. This helps ensure that the administrative cost charged for registrations is kept to a minimum.
Is there a cost to register a work?
Yes. There is a small administrative charge made for each work registered. This varies according to the length of registration you would like to take out. For a list of the options and charges, please click here.
How can payment be made? Is it secure?
Payment is accepted online via the internet payment processing company WorldPay. Payment can be made using a variety of credit and debit cards, dependent upon the currency you choose to pay in. WorldPay is formerly a part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Plc, and in 2010 became the largest merchant acquirer in Europe. It employs cutting-edge security to protect your payment details. WorldPay processes payments for businesses large and small, and charities around the world.
What currencies are accepted?
We accept payments in Australian dollars, British pounds, Canadian dollars, Euros, New Zealand dollars, and US dollars. However, it does not matter if your local currency is not listed. You can select any currency to pay in, regardless of your local currency, and your card company will automatically handle the currency exchange for you.
What do I do if my currency isn't accepted?
This does not matter. Select any currency, and your card company should handle the currency exchange automatically for you.
Is there a maximum file size?
Yes. Files must not exceed 10MB. If your file is larger than 10MB then you can take certain steps to try and reduce the file size (see "How should I prepare a textual file for registration?" and "How should I prepare an audio/visual file for registration?" below). If you are unable to reduce your file to a small enough size you may have to consider splitting it into separate files to be registered separately (for instance, chapters of a book; directories of a website; verses of a song). A separate fee must be paid for each file. Alternatively, consider rendering your file in textual form, if possible. For instance, instead of submitting a recording of a speech, consider transcribing it and submitting the text of the speech. Instead of submitting a recording of a song, you could consider submitting the text and notation of the lyrics and music.
How do I find out how big my file is?
Find the file you want to register on your computer and right-click it. Click "Properties" from the menu that appears. The details of the file will be shown, including its size.
What kind of files can be registered?
Files can be registered which end with the following file extensions (a file extension is the collection of letters after the "." in your filename, which tells you the format of your file):
The file extension is sometimes difficult to see in newer versions of Microsoft Windows. Here are some common file extensions and the types of files that use them:
If you are still unsure about your file extension then you can try attaching your file to a blank email. Once the file is shown in the attachment window it will usually show its full name, including the file extension. Alternatively, find the file on your computer and right-click it, then select "Open With...". The following window will give the name of your file, including the file extension.
If all else fails, you can put any file into a compressed (.zip) file and it will be accepted. To do this in Windows, right-click your file and follow the "Send to" arrow, then select "Compressed (zipped) folder". This will create a .zip file containing your file. You can then submit the .zip file.
For information on changing the format of your file, please see "How should I prepare a textual file for registration?" or "How should I prepare an audio/visual file for registration?", below.
Can I submit a collection of works as a single registration?
You should submit your work as you intend it to be presented. For instance, if you have written a collection of poems that you intend to present to a publisher for publication as a collection you may register this as a single work. The poems may be submitted as a single file, or bundled together as a zip file. The registration will be made under the title of the collection. No reference will be made to the individual poems.
Similarly, if you are registering a website then you do not need to register each page separately. All the pages can be compiled in a zip file and submitted under the name of the website.
However, if your poems are to be presented as separate works (for instance, if you are submitting individual poems to magazines) then they should be registered separately. Likewise, you cannot combine multiple websites or other works in one zip file and submit them as a single registration. The registration refers to the submitted work as a whole, and this should be a single entity known by one title.
Can I register a work by submitting a sample, plan, or description?
No. Copyright covers recorded works only – it does not cover ideas or planned works. You may submit a plan or synopsis, etc. but it will be the plan or synopsis itself which is covered – not the proposed work to which it refers.
How should I prepare a textual file for registration?
Textual files must first be in one of the following formats:
If your file is not in one of the formats above you can first try saving it into one of the accepted formats. You can usually alter a file's format by opening it, selecting "Save As" from the "File" menu, and selecting a different file format from the "Save as type" drop-down menu. Most word processing programs should offer you the option of saving your work as a .txt or .rtf file. Doing so will lose some formatting, but this should not matter in relation to copyright. The important thing is that the words themselves are recorded.
Another option is to compress your file(s) into a zip file (".zip") which is an accepted format.
You will also need to ensure that your file is less than 10MB in size. This should not be a problem for most text files, unless they also include graphics. If your file is too large and does include graphics you should consider removing them. If you did not create the image yourself then you cannot claim copyright over it, and if you did create the image yourself then you should consider registering it as a work in its own right, if you want to protect it individually.
If your file is still too large you may wish to try compressing it as a zip file, or saving it as a .txt or .rtf file. This will save your document as plain text, without some of the formatting you have applied (such as fonts, italics, etc.) and as a result your file will be smaller.
How should I prepare an audio/visual file for registration?
Audio/visual files must first be in one of the following formats:
If your file is not in one of the formats above you can first try saving it into one of the accepted formats. You can usually alter a file's format by opening it, selecting "Save As" from the "File" menu, and selecting a different file format from the "Save as type" drop-down menu.
Another option is to compress your file(s) into a zip file (".zip") which is an accepted format.
You will also need to ensure that your file is less than 10MB in size. This can often be a problem for audio/visual files, but can usually be overcome by reducing the quality of your file and/or changing the format. For instance, if you have a large print-quality .tiff file you can first try reducing the size of the image. If this doesn't reduce the file size sufficiently you can try reducing the resolution. Finally, you can try saving the file in a more compressed format, such as .jpg. Remember: you are not registering copyright over every individual pixel. As long as your work is recognizable, your registration will still serve as evidence of copyright.
If I have lots of files to register, do I have to fill out all my details for each one?
No. When you register your first file an account will be created for you, which will record your details. When registering further files you can simply log into this account and register a file with the same details. You will still have to fill out the details of the particular file you are registering, but you will not have to fill out details such as your name, address, etc.
If you want to register a work with different details (for instance if you want to register personal works on the one hand and business ones on the other) you will need separate CRS accounts under separate email addresses (for instance, a personal email address and a business email address).
You can update your account details (if you move house, or change your name) but you must not change the person or organization to which the account refers.
How soon will my work be protected?
Your work will be protected as soon as it is successfully uploaded to our server, or received by us by email in the case of any difficulty you may encounter uploading your file. As long as there are no problems with your file, you should be able to upload it as soon as you have completed registration. In most cases, work is protected within minutes of beginning the registration process.
What happens to my work once it is registered?
Your file is first uploaded to our server. It will then be transferred from our server to two separate computers at two geographically separate locations (usually within a week from registration) and deleted from our server. Your file will then be archived onto two separate CD or DVD discs, to be stored at two geographically separate locations, usually within a month of registration. Your work is at no point accessible to the public.
Are my files opened by anyone?
No. Registered files are saved and moved digitally, but are not opened or viewed.
Are my files checked to make sure they don't contravene existing copyrights?
No. A CRS registration is intended to demonstrate that you were in possession of a given work on a given date. It is not intended to demonstrate that your work is unique. Your work is not checked or compared against other works. Registration helps protect your work from subsequent copyright infringement by others, but it does not indicate that your work does not infringe the copyright of older works.
How and where can I use the CRS seal?
When you have registered your work you are permitted to place a CRS seal on it, indicating that it has been registered with the IP Rights Office Copyright Registration Service. This seal can be used for the duration of the registration period only, and can be applied to the registered work only. The CRS reference number of the registered work must always be displayed alongside the seal wherever it is used, or wherever any statement is made declaring the registration. The recommended wording for any such declaration is as follows:
"Registered with the IP Rights Office Copyright Registration Service Ref: [your CRS reference number]"
The precise wording is optional, but the reference number must be included. Displaying the seal without complying will all the requirements for its use is a breach of copyright. Unauthorised use of the seal will invalidate your registration and could result in legal action.
Seals can be used either in print or online. In print they can be placed, for instance, on the cover page of a manuscript, or the inlay card of a CD.
When displaying CRS seals online you must use the code provided in your account. You must not use a print seal online, or place the image of a seal directly on a web page, or in an email.
You must not alter CRS seals in any way, or distribute them to any other person. You must not disclose the URL (web address) of any CRS seal images. Placing an image on a web page or in an email constitutes distribution and is strictly prohibited.
Do I have to use a CRS seal?
No, you do not have to place a CRS seal on your work. However, if you state that your work is registered with the IP Rights Office Copyright Registration service then you must provide the CRS reference number.
Do I receive a certificate of registration?
When you have registered your work you have the option of printing a registration certificate from within your CRS account. However, we do not print and post certificates to registrants.
Can I get a replacement certificate of registration?
As long as your registration is active you can log into your account and reprint its certificate whenever you like. However, we do not print and post certificates to registrants.
Can I change my details on a certificate after registration?
No. The purpose of a CRS registration is to determine the relevant dates relating to a work and to record its details at the point of registration. A registration certificate is a statement of the details provided on the date of registration. Though the details and names of the work and registrant may subsequently change it does not alter what details were originally submitted on the date of registration.
If you find after registration that you have made a small error such as a typing or spelling error on the information you provided you have 28 days to apply to have it changed. You will need to contact us by clicking here and asking for information on making such an application. You will need to pay a Registration Correction Fee of AUD $13 / GBP ï¿½5 / CAD $10 / EUR ï¿½8 / NZ $15 / USD $9. Please note that you cannot apply to have details changed (for instance a name or address changed); you can only apply for them to be corected.
If you find that you have made a serious error during registration which has rendered the information you provided false then you must terminate that registration immediately and take out a new registration with the correct details. Unfortunately, because the original registration will already have been processed, we are unable to refund your original registration fee.
Can I change or update my file after registration?
No. The purpose of the registration is to prove that the document existed in its registered form at the point of registration. If you could change the file after registration then it would invalidate the registration, and it would cease to carry any weight in law. For the registration to have any meaning, it is vital that it remains untouched after it is registered.
You may, however, take out a new registration for the amended file.
Does registration prove my work is unique?
No. Registration proves that you were in possession of your work at the date of registration. This helps protect against any subsequent infringement of your copyright by proving that you were in possession of your work before anyone who may subsequently copy it. However, it does not prove that your work does not infringe the copyright of earlier works.
Does registration prove I created the work in question?
No. Registration proves only that you were in possession of the work at the date of registration. If someone else can prove that they were in possession of the work prior to the date of registration then they may be able to argue that they created the work. To avoid this, make sure you register your work as soon as possible.
Does registration guarantee that no-one else will reproduce my work without my consent?
No, but it does help to guard against this. Placing a CRS seal (available after registration) upon your work can help dissuade people from misappropriating your work, and the fact that you have registered your work can assist you in any legal proceedings you may pursue.
Does registration guarantee success in any legal disputes relating to the registered work?
No. All cases will be judged on their own details, and if the other party can prove they created the work or one sufficiently similar to it before you did then they will be able to claim a copyright infringement. However, registering your work will help you prove that you were in possession of it at a particular date, and can therefore help you in a legal dispute where you need to prove that you were the first person to create the work in question.
Can I register a work which is already being disputed?
Yes, however the registration will only be able to assist you in future disputes relating to infringements occurring after the date of registration. It will not have any bearing on any disputes already in progress.
What happens when the period of registration expires?
Prior to the expiry of your registration an email will be sent to all the addresses on your account warning you of the impending expiry and offering you the chance to renew. If you do not renew before your registration expires then you will have to take out a new registration, in which case your work will be registered from the date of the new registration only, not from the date of the original registration.