Copyright is “automatic” – such exists as soon as an original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium, e.g., when you put paintbrush to canvas, record a song to digital audio file, or capture a photograph on film.
Since copyright protection is automatic and registration is not required, why take the extra step to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office?
-One key reason is because prompt registration can provide significant advantages when infringement arises.
Registration is required to file a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Postponing the filing of a copyright application until an infringement dispute arises may leave you waiting—sometimes for months—for the Copyright Office to process the application before you can file suit against the infringer.
Copyright owners who register their work within five years of publication have a presumption of validity in litigation.
In an infringement suit, a copyright owner must establish (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of the original elements of the copyright.
If registration was obtained either before publication or within five years of publication of the work, –rather than having to prove that you are the owner of a valid copyright, the court will presume that you satisfy the first element of copyright infringement and it will fall to the defendant to show otherwise.
- Timely registration enables copyright owners to recover statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs for post-registration infringement.
- Registration is a prerequisite for obtaining exclusionary relief from the International Trade Commission.
The owner of a U.S. copyright registration can petition the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) to open an investigation into infringing works imported into the U.S. and seek an exclusion order to stop those infringing goods from entering the country.
- Copyright registration holders may record their copyright with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop infringing copies at the border.
- Copyright registration creates a public record.
An immediate benefit of copyright registration is the creation of a public record that puts the world on notice of your copyright claim.
Key facts stated in the certificate of registration, such as the type of work, author(s) and claimed authorship, copyright claimant(s), title of the work, date of creation, and whether the work is published or unpublished. Providing this information makes it easier for third parties who wish to license a work reach the appropriate person.
As always if you have questions about it as always, feel free to reach out to the Law Office of Jade Carpenter, and I would be happy to help! See you next time.
The materials available at or within this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.