What is a copyright?
A copyright protects original works of authorship in a fixed tangible form. This can include paintings, books, photographs, movies, logo designs, software code, website designs, etc. Copyright gives the content owners exclusive rights to use, display, reproduce, perform, and distribute copies of the work or content. Copyright is an automatic right. However, content owners should consider registering for federal copyright to receive these benefits fully. Registering your copyright with the United States copyright office enhances the value of your copyright and provides for certain protections within the law. Here are four benefits of registering for federal copyright:
1. Public Ownership
Registering your copyright will provide a public record of ownership of your working content. Typically, registration should take place within three months after creating your content. By registering your copyright, you are showing public ownership of the content. Ownership is essential should the need arise to file a copyright infringement claim. In situations such as those, the content owner’s responsibility is to prove ownership of the content, among other things. Formal registration can also deter would-be infringers. Having a public record that you own your work can go a long way in protecting your content.
2. Presumption of Ownership
Directly in line with public ownership is the presumption of ownership. The courts have routinely held that a formal registration of copyright before or within five years following the publication of any work or content will be direct evidence of the validity of ownership. This means that ownership is presumed. Anyone challenging the validity of your copyrighted work or content has the burden of proving ownership.
3. Enforcement of Copyright
The benefit with perhaps the most value will be your ability to enforce your copyright. Although copyright interest is automatic, you cannot file a copyright infringement lawsuit without a registered copyright. Registering your copyright before any infringement or within three months of publication is vital. So, to fully enforce your rights, you will need to register your copyright with the United States Copyright Office.
Money damages are the name of the game in infringement lawsuits. By filing for copyright registration within three months of publication or before any infringement, you will have the opportunity to ask for statutory damages along with attorney’s fees and quote costs. Statutory damages will allow copyright owners to recover a specific amount per work infringed on. Statutory damages do not depend upon the owner’s ability to prove actual damages.
Many people will hear “automatic copyright” and think they aren’t required or don’t need to take any further steps. That mindset is misguided. To take advantage of the full benefits of obtaining and having a copyright for your work and content, you need formal copyright registration. If you want to protect your work and content from would-be infringers, having a federal copyright registration is the way to go.
Want to know how Off the Mark can assist you with your copyright needs? Schedule a discovery call to learn more.