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Can I File For a Copyright Without a Copyright Lawyer?

By John DiGiacomo

Yes, generally, it is relatively easy for a copyright owner to file for copyright — this is called registering copyright — without the legal services of an experienced copyright law firm like Revision Legal. Registration of copyrights is done by the US Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress. The process is — mostly — done electronically and involves completing and filing the proper forms and providing two copies of the original work to be registered. Here is some general information about copyrights and some circumstances where it might be useful to consult a top-tier copyright lawyer and intellectual property lawyer before or during the registration process.

Copyrights Exist Even if You Do Not Register Them

Under US copyright laws, copyrights exist even if the owner does not register the copyright with the US Copyright Office. Copyrights apply to any original work of authorship, such as a book, song lyrics, music, movies, videos, painted or graphically created images, etc. So, if you create it and it is original, you have a copyright on the original work. Copyrights give the owner certain rights, including the right to:

  • Make, sell and distribute copies of the original
  • Perform/display the work publicly
  • Make and sell original works of authorship that are derivative of the first work
  • Prevent others from doing the above

If the owner of an original work of authorship registers the copyright, then additional legal rights come into existence. These include:

  • The ability to file lawsuits in federal court to punish infringement of the copyright
  • The ability to recover additional and enhanced damages if copyright infringement is proven, such as statutory damages and attorneys fees

Aside from these enhanced legal protections, registration provides some additional advantages in that registration creates a searchable public record. The public nature of registration makes it easier for people and businesses to contact the copyright owner for purposes of asking for a license to use the work or inquire about buying the copyright. Also, the public nature of a registered copyright makes it more difficult for an infringer to claim “accidental infringement.”

Advantages to hiring a talented copyright law firm for registration

As noted, registration can be done without the services of a copyright law firm. But there are circumstances where it may be better to hire a good copyright lawyer. These include:

  • If you have many copyrights to register, hiring a copyright law firm will save time and hassle
  • If the copyright is jointly owned or the original work was created by more than one author, registration can be more complicated, and hiring a copyright law firm will ensure that registration is done correctly
  • If there is an urgent need to register a copyright without mistakes — such as the need to quickly file an infringement lawsuit — hiring a copyright law firm is the best practice
  • If the copyright owner has plans to license, sell or assign the copyright — hiring a copyright law firm will ensure the registration is done correctly, which is a prerequisite to licensing, selling, and assigning the copyright
  • And more

Contact A Copyright Attorney At Revision Legal For more information, contact the trusted Copyright lawyers at Revision Legal. You can contact us through the form on this page or call (855) 473-8474.

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