The Copyright Application
Duration, and Transfers
Filing a copyright application is a fairly simple process. An application form provided by the Copyright Office is completed and filed by the copyright owner or claimant for a filing fee of $30. The Copyright Office does not perform a substantive review of the application as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) does with trademark applications. The use of a copyright notice (© 1999 Gerald Trainor) is optional, but it affords certain advantages to copyright owners. Duration of copyright typically is for the author's life plus seventy years. Because copyrights are property, they can be sold to others. The transfer of all copyright rights is required to be in writing.
Copyright vests initially in the author or authors of the work. Copyright also is transferable by agreement or by operation of law (as is the case in bankruptcy or when a copyright owner dies without leaving a will).