Q.What Are The Benefits Of Registering a Copyright?
A.Although since 1978, copyright is immediately secured upon creation of the original work in a fixed medium, U.S. copyright law requires you to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can sue someone for infringing your copyright. If the copyright has not been registered before the infringement occurs, you can only recover actual damages, and you cannot recover statutory damages, punitive damages or attorney’s fees. Without the ability to recover these costs or obtain punitive damages, the cost of bringing a suit could easily outweigh any financial recovery from the infringer. It is therefore imperative for you register your copyrights to effectively protect your copyright.
There are 5 significant advantages to registering your work with the United States Copyright Office:
- Registration establishes a public record of your copyright and puts the world on notice that it exists;
- Registration is a prerequisite to filing an infringement suit in a U.S. court;
- If a work is registered within five years of first publication, the registration certificate will serve as prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the copyright certificate.
- If a work is registered within three months of publication of the work, or before infringement occurs, attorneys fees and statutory damages will be available to the copyright owner. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages is available to the copyright owner;
- Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the copyright with the U.S. Customs Office to prevent the importation of infringing copies of a work.
The $30 filing fee for registration and any nominal fee you pay to an attorney to review your paperwork before it is filed (probably arounf $125) is a wise investment. A copyright infringement lawsuit could cost tens of thousands of dollars and attorneys will refuse to assist you on a contingency basis in the event there is infringement if the work is not registered, or registered improperly.
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