How To Copyright a Document and Protect Your Work From Theft

A document is defined as a written or printed paper that gives information about or proof of something. It can also be regarded as a drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of a thought, either of fictional or non-fictional nature. 

If you created something, even a document, it is your right to decide who can use it. Copyright laws, such as DMCA, can help with that, as they regulate copyright infringement, copyright claims, and notices

How Does Copyright Work?

Copyright falls under the category of intellectual property rights. It allows the original creator and copyright owner to use, copy, and distribute the content, but it also protects the copyrighted work from theft. 


The original content gets copyright upon creation, which lasts for a limited period. How long copyright lasts depends on the copyright laws of the specific country. In the U.S., it lasts during the life of the owner and an additional 70 years after they pass away.

What Is Protected by Copyright?

Copyright is often confused with a trademark or patent. They also represent intellectual property rights, alongside design rights. Here are the works that fall under the copyright category:

  • Literary
  • Dramatic
  • Musical
  • Artistic
  • Movies and other audiovisual content
  • Sound recordings
  • Typographical arrangements

Are Documents Under Copyright Protection?

You may think that documents do not qualify for copyright protection, but they fall under literary works. It seems that literary work only applies to poetry, novels, stories, and such, but this is not the case. They refer to any work written using letters, numbers, or symbols. This means that you can protect your documents as works of authorship.

Do I Have To Register Copyright for a Document?

If you are wondering how to copyright a document, then you must know that registering a copyright is not necessary, but it is recommended. There are several reasons why people decide to register their copyright:

  • To have proof of copyright ownership
  • To own a certificate of registration
  • It is required for filing an infringement lawsuit in court
  • Registered copyrighted works may be eligible for statutory damages that go from $750 to $35,000 per work and attorney fees

If you want to register the copyright for a document, you must:

  • Complete the application form
  • Pay a fee
  • Send a physical or digital copy of the work to the U.S. Copyright Office

After you mail or submit a digital copy of your work, you should receive a confirmation email from the Copyright Office.

Here Is How the DMCA Protects Your Content

Online copyright infringement proved to be a bigger problem than regular copyright violations. In 1998, the U.S. government decided to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA), a copyright law that implemented two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

DMCA protection is available for both online service providers and copyright owners.

To protect your content as a copyright owner, you can use these two services:

  • Protection Badge and Certificate prevent potential stealing of your work by putting a badge on your website or blog to warn anyone who tries to use your content without permission that the content is copyrighted. Once you register for a badge, you get a protection certificate and one takedown free of charge
  • Takedown Service is used after you notice that someone stole your content and published it on their website

The DMCA offers a safe harbor to online service providers that protects them from copyright infringement liability happening on their platforms. These are the requirements they must meet:

  • Only users are allowed to select and upload the content
  • Other users can see that content without modifications by the web host
  • The process is automatic—the web host must not interfere in any way

By meeting these criteria, online service providers prove that they have no information about possible copyright violations and cannot profit from them.

Take Down Stolen Content With DMCA’s Takedown Service

DMCA offers two takedown services that you can check out in the table below:

Full-Service Takedown Webmasters DIY Service
  • A brief application form
  • Takes three minutes, according to their website
  • Recommended to regular users and content creators
  • One use per service
  • Full DMCA assistance
  • Costs $199 per site
  • A DIY takedown kit
  • Takes longer to figure out
  • Recommended to webmasters and internet professionals
  • Unlimited use, once you learn how to do it
  • Costs $10 a month/ $100 a year

Once you decide which one is more suitable for you, filing a takedown notice should be more or less easy:

  1. Go to DMCA’s website
  2. Open the Takedown tab
  3. Select the Start a Takedown option
  4. Provide takedown details
  5. Enter your account info
  6. Select the takedown service
  7. Click Proceed to Checkout
  8. Make the payment according to the service

The web host should take down the content immediately, even without proof of infringement. If the person or business that used your content decides to dispute the takedown notice, you will receive a counter-notice and will have to consult with your copyright attorney on further actions.

File a DMCA Takedown Notice With DoNotPay

If you are looking for a way to file a DMCA takedown notice hassle-free, you are in the right place. DoNotPay, the world’s first robot lawyer, is at your service for resolving any bureaucratic issue, including taking down stolen content.

With our help, you won’t need to hire legal assistance, pay for expensive services, or attend a course in taking down content. We can help you file a DMCA takedown notice in no time:

  1. Open DoNotPay in your web browser
  2. Click on the DMCA Takedown option
  3. Type your work’s title in the provided box
  4. Enter the URL of the original content
  5. Enter the URL of the page with stolen content
  6. Confirm your identity and account info
  7. Click Sign and Submit

You will be able to see the results in the My Disputes tab once the web host receives your notice.

If you opt for DoNotPay, you can submit an unlimited number of notices, even without proof of copyright ownership. 

DoNotPay Helps You Solve Your Problems in the Blink of an Eye!

Not only can DoNotPay help you to file copyright notices without effort, but it can also give you all the essential information about copyright to get you started. Learn the basics of how copyright works and how to copyright your creations, but first, check how much it costs to copyright your content. Use our app to protect your rights by filing a DMCA takedown notice and reporting copyright infringements.

Open DoNotPay in your preferred web browser and use its numerous practical features to: