Copyright rights attached the moment “original works of authorship” are fixed in any tangible medium of expression. At that moment, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to distribute, reproduce, publicly display or perform, and to prepare derivative works of the copyrighted work.
Registration is not required to receive these rights. However, formal registration with the Untied States Copyright Office brings a number of benefits to authors.
The Benefits of Copyright Registration
- The Ability to Sue. Should you ever find yourself in the position of having your unregistered work copied, distributed, or reproduced without your permission, you will not be able to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Formal registration is a requirement before you can file suit in federal court.
- Notice. By registering your copyright, you put the world on notice that you have laid your claim to your work. In litigation, this could minimize a defendant’s ability to claim “innocent infringement.”
- Statutory Damages. By registering your work prior to any infringement, you perfect your ability to claim statutory damages. The Copyright Act provides for a maximum of $150,000 in statutory damages, plus costs and attorney fees. A timely registered copyright provides the copyright holder substantial leverage in any infringement dispute.
- Validity. If you register before the your work is published, or within 5 years after publication, the registration becomes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright. This creates a legal presumption that gives a signification advantage in litigation.
How to Register
The benefits of copyright registration are clear. And given the price, a $35 filing fee, there is little reason not to take this step.
Anyone can file online via eCO. But if you have questions about registration, you should contact an attorney today. We register copyrights for a flat fee, that includes a consultation regarding your copyright. If you are interested, please complete the form below and our attorneys will contact you.
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