Who Can Register?
Can foreigners register their works in the United States?
Any work that is protected by U.S. copyright law can
be registered. This includes many works of foreign origin. All
works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the
author, are protected in the United States. Works that are first
published in the United States or in a country with which we have
a copyright treaty or that are created by a citizen or domiciliary
of a country with which we have a copyright treaty are also protected
and may therefore be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
See Circular 38a, International
Copyright Relations of the United States, for the status of
Can a minor claim copyright?
Minors may claim copyright, and the Copyright Office
issues registrations to minors, but state laws may regulate the
business dealings involving copyrights owned by minors. For information
on relevant state laws, consult an attorney.
Can I register a diary I found in my grandmother's attic?
You can register copyright in the diary only if you own
the rights to the work, for example, by will or by inheritance.
Copyright is the right of the author of the work or the author's
heirs or assignees, not of the one who only owns or possesses the
physical work itself. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics,
Can Claim Copyright.”
Note: The Copyright Office offers introductory answers to frequently asked questions about
copyright, registration, and services of the Office. Links throughout the answers will guide
you to further information on our website or from other sources. For any other questions, please visit
our Contact Us page.