How to make a copyright certificate

Written by susan deschel
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A copyright certificate communicates and places fair warning to other entities or industries that might have an interest in duplicating your ideas. Copyright law protects your interests. Once you've determined that copyright law can protect you, creation of a certificate merely involves use of the right language to protect your ideas.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Go to the United States Copyright Law website ( to determine whether you qualify for copyright protection. In order to qualify, your work must be original, and you must have created or co-created it. An employee could have prepared it for you or another creator could have transferred it to you.

  2. 2

    Once you've determined that you fall within the Copyright Law protection guidelines and you've registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, locate a website to fill in and print out a certificate template, such as on Many versions of Word also have certificate templates available through Microsoft Office Online (

  3. 3

    Review one or two other copyright statements from similar industries. For example, if you're placing it on a book, look at a book's copyright wording to develop an understanding for the language to help develop your own copyright statement. You should also visit the website of an industry similar to your own. Use it as a template for your own language, making it specific to your copyright.

  4. 4

    Insert the copyright symbol (a small "c" inside a circle, available on most Word programs) into the certificate template or certificate itself, and write up a copyright statement. Include the category that your copyright falls within, as per the U.S. Copyright Office's categories: production of original work, co-creator of original work, transfer of copyright to another party, or work created at the workplace--or works for hire. Plug your specific copyright language into the template or example you selected to use.

  5. 5

    Determine the use categories, such as intellectual property, digital or sound recording. The U.S. Copyright Office website lists all copyright categories. Include any applicable categories in your copyright statement.

  6. 6

    Determine and write in the type of use you'll allow others--exclusive use, no use (withholding all) or limited use. Fold this language into your copyright statement to complete it.

  7. 7

    Print out your certificate, or place it up on your website -- or both. Replace it with your official certificate once you receive it from the U.S. Copyright Office.

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