How much does copyrighting cost?
Copyrighting doesn't cost anything, it's an automatic property
of any work you create.
It's the registration that costs: Currently, in the U.S., it costs
$35 USD if you do it electronically using the U.S. Copyright Office
Anyone can register a U.S. Copyright, you don't have to be a citizen.
IMHO it doesn't make much sense to register unless your work is
worth money (which, in the case of poetry, it isn't) AND you actually
I use a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial copyright license
on my stuff because I want people to feel free to copy, distribute,
display, and perform my stuff should the fit strike them: http://wordbiscuit.com/license.htm
Here's a nice description of Creative Commons copyright licenses:
You can get a license link at Creative Commons:
From U.S. Copyright Office FAQ:
When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is
created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible
either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists
from the moment the work is created. You will have to register,
however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a
Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to
register their works because they wish to have the facts of their
copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration.
Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's
fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within
5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court
Can foreigners register their works in the United States?
Any work that is protected by U.S. copyright law can be registered.
This includes many works of foreign origin. All works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the author, are protected in the United
States. Works that are first published in the United States or in a
country with which we have a copyright treaty or that are created by a
citizen or domiciliary of a country with which we have a copyright treaty
are also protected and may therefore be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
FAQ list from the U.S. Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/