I was listening to an older episode (2012) of "The Audacity to Podcast", where the host is talking with a copyright/IP Lawyer: https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap077-copyright-laws-for-bloggers-and-podcasters/

I am not a lawyer (and if I should take this to Law.SE, I'll do that, too (or instead)), but I just want to verify something I believe he said, and also to make sure that it's also still true, as I know things can change, but the common wisdom stays the same.

First, I do know that since 1978 or so, everything one "fixes" into a specific form (photo, poem, story, essay, podcast episode), automatically has a copyright.

But he said it's less defendable if it's not registered -- a registered work often will get lawyers to take on a legal case for infringement based just on anticipated rewards.

Since registration is about $35/an instance, he recommended registering things in "groups" - AND he said that you had to file the registration within 90 days of publication. In other words, file a quarterly "portfolio" of all blog posts or podcasts episodes created in the last 90 days, no matter how many items are in it.

(Again, I know the works are technically protected just by existing, but I want to be able to defend my works easily, if desired. I would love classes to play my grammar writing podcasts to explain a concept, or for teachers to recommend episodes as supplements, but I want to be able to keep, say, a textbook publisher from just using my transcripts without permi$$ion.)

Question: Do you really have only 90 days from publication/posting to register copyright with the LOC? (I was hoping for annual - quarterly is so frequent!)

Question2: Do I have to say "copyright 2019 (my name)" in each podcast, or is having it written in the notes sufficient? (I am aiming for under 5 minutes per episodes, so I don't want to use airtime for anything extra. I've really honed my opening to name the podcast, me, the episode to be a single short sentence.)

  • 1
    I'm not sure I have the wherewithall to research it for an answer but I have looked into this before and it appears to be malarky. It used to be recommended advice but is no longer necessary or even helpful. The 90 days business I've never heard before and it certainly isn't part of the federal requirements. I think the fact that you recorded your work in your own voice on a particular date is proof enough for a court that it was created by that date and that you had access to it (it doesn't prove you wrote it, but then neither does registration).
    – Cyn
    Apr 29, 2019 at 15:18
  • 1
    I think I see the origin of the 3 months thing -- I'll post it as an answer below: Apr 29, 2019 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


Apparently the 3 months element is useful IF you expect lawsuit issues. From the Copyright Circular from https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html (more specifically - https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf)

In addition to establishing a public record of a copyright claim, registration offers several other statutory advantages:
• Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration (or refusal) is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
• Registration establishes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and facts stated in the certificate when registration is made before or within five years of publication.
• When registration is made prior to infringement or within three months after publication of a work, a copyright owner is eligible for statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
• Registration permits a copyright owner to establish a record with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)3 for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

a few pages later...

• A certificate of registration creates certain legal presumptions if the work is registered before or within five years after the work was first published.
• A copyright owner may be entitled to claim statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in an infringement lawsuit if the work was registered before the infringement began or within three months after the first publication of that work.

So in short, if you expect legal issues, the 3 months MAY be a good option, but life is pretty ok for 5-years-within publication. So if I do annual registrations, that's more than enough.

Note - they still have one of my favorite questions: How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?

I'm still not certain about PODCASTS, if they count as "published, distinct entities" and thus would each have to be covered one at a time, since an unpublished collection may be one thing, but is sharing out a podcast via RSS "publishing?"

from https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html#multiple

You may register unpublished works as a collection on one application with one title for the entire collection if certain conditions are met. It is not necessary to list the individual titles in your collection. Published works may only be registered as a collection if they were actually first published as a collection and if other requirements have been met.

What is publication?

Generally, publication occurs on the date on which copies of the work are first made available to the public.

Circular 66 on Websites/webcontent may answer my questions more specifically, but I haven't looked at it yet really.

  • Well. I stand corrected.
    – Cyn
    Apr 29, 2019 at 19:00
  • Why don't you have a recurring blog post called "Podcasts of 2018" and so forth? With links to each one you produced that year. Then it's a published collection, no? (disclaimer, ask a copyright expert/lawyer).
    – Cyn
    Apr 29, 2019 at 19:02
  • I will tag a copyright guy I know. :) (Don't know if he has the time/inclination to answer, of course. ) Apr 29, 2019 at 19:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.