The Benefits of Copyright Registration

Legal Article

The Benefits of Copyright Registration

A copyright is automatically placed on any original painting, sculpture, illustration, photograph, book, poem, song, article, movie, recording, software code, logo design, and website content that is created. This means that the creator or author of the work will immediately receive copyright protection on this creation.

Copyrights give the owner of specific content the exclusive rights to reproduce or distribute copies of the work, prepare derivative works, and perform, display, and broadcast the work publicly. Additionally, if someone has copyright ownership, they can allow others to utilize these exclusive rights as well.

One question that many of our clients have is why anyone would take the additional steps and expenses to register their copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. While each copyright case is different, our Washington, D.C. business attorneys believe the following five benefits you gain from registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office greatly enhances the value of your copyright.

Public Record of Ownership

If you register your copyrights, it creates a public record of ownership. This is important as ownership is at the center of many copyright lawsuits. Even if the infringer is not claiming that they own the creation, the copyright owner must prove that they, in fact, are the valid owners of the property in order to win a dispute on copyright infringement.

Additionally, formally registering your copyright can also help you deter potential infringers. Finally, publicly showing that you own the copyright goes a long way to show the courts that you actually own the content if it is ever challenged in the future.

Presumption of Ownership

Courts hold that copyright registration—before or within five years of publication—establishes evidence of the validity of the copyrights and the facts stated within the registration certificate. This means ownership of the copyright is presumed, and anyone seeking to challenge ownership will have the burden to demonstrate otherwise. This is especially important when the copyright infringer has or is causing severe and irreparable harm that requires immediate legal attention. By formally registering your copyright, the courts will be able to quickly order the infringer to stop their unlawful actions.

The most valuable part of filing your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is the ability to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. This is because a copyright owner cannot file a lawsuit to enforce or protect its copyrights until the U.S. Copyright Office has issued a registration. Further, the U.S. Copyright Office typically takes seven months to process the copyright after it is filed. However, for certain complex cases, it can take longer. However, there is an expedited consideration that a creator can request, though this can be extremely costly.  

Eligibility for Statutory Damages, Attorney Fees, and Costs of Suit

When copyrights are formally registered prior to any infringement, or within three months of publication of the work, a copyright owner can pursue statutory damages. This is extremely important as proving the damages in a copyright infringement lawsuit can be extremely complex. An award of statutory damages allows the copyright owner to recover a certain amount for each work infringed. Notwithstanding the owner’s ability to prove actual damages. Being eligible for these damages can give the plaintiff the leverage necessary to force the defendant to settle early.

Protection Against Importation of Infringing Works

The owner of a valid and registered copyright can participate in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection program (CBP). This protection allows the CBP to seize and detain imported goods that violate intellectual property rights in the United States. You must register your copyright to participate in this program.

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

Finally, for more on the benefits of copyright registration, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding business law, check out our blog.