How to Legally Protect Your Creative Work with Kathryn Goldman

At the 30:40 mark: My understanding & procedures to register “groups of works” is different from the attorney’s.

To be clear, creatives can register from 2 to 10 UN-published works from the same category, like visual arts (for example, three un-published paintings, two un-published drawings, five un-published sculptures) using the “Group Registration of Un-published Works” (GRUW) on-line copyright registration application” for a single filing fee of $85 total (it’s not $85 per work). See the GRUW info & tutorial at and

The attorney described the group application (GRUW) as a “coming out as a collection …is called a ‘Day of publication’ (copyright lingo) – all published on the same day.” I’ve never heard of that! Again, the GRUW application is for UN-published works ONLY. Once you’ve officially registered via the GRUW application, you can officially publish those works individually or together at any time. Also, the US Copyright Office does not identify the GRUW application as a “collection” of works, but rather as a GROUP of un-published individual works that have their own copyright registration claim.

It’s important NOT to mixed published and UN-published works in the GRUW application. If your works are published, use the “Single Application” or “Standard Application” (see below).

Do not register your ten un-published works using the GRUW application on say, a Monday, and on that very Monday “publish” them. If you can, wait at least two full days before making your work available to the public (published status).

To register ONE work ONLY, use the following on-line applications:

“Single Application”: The fee to register ONE un-/published work (like one book or one illustration or one photograph or one painting or one cartoon or one poem, etc.) with ONE author who’s the SAME copyright claimant, that’s NOT a-work-for-hire project, and that does NOT include any third-party creative media, is $45 — you MUST have created the ENTIRE work yourself! See and

Otherwise, to register a single un-/published work with multiple authors, and/or as a derivative/collective work, and/or that includes Creative Commons, Public Domain, and/or licensed media, etc., the fee is $65. Use the “Standard Application” (on-line eCO application):

If you’re unsure about which application to use to register your ONE work, select the Standard Application.

“Publication” Definition: Publication typically means the work has been released and made available to the public for licensing, selling, sharing, downloading, or for further distribution (either for free or for payment). The day you deliver your creative work to your client or to stock or to a selling platform (Etsy) is likely the official date of its first-publication. If you’re just “displaying” a work on-line (like on a website or printed portfolio) and NOT selling or sharing it, then the work is likely un-published. See Circular 1 (Copyright Basics, page 7) for the legal definition of “Publication”:

Leave a Reply