The copyright registration procedure allows the owner of any exclusive right in the automatically copyrighted work to register the work with the Copyright Office. This registration is voluntary and may be effected at any point the work is still protected by copyright. The copyright registration is available for both published and unpublished works. Although registration is not necessary to establish the copyright protection for creative work, when properly registered, the copyright owner is provided with an additional legal protection that exceeds the cost and the time of gaining such registration.
Benefits of Registering Your Copyright
The copyright owner must register a work in a timely manner for the following reasons.
Copyright registration is a precondition for bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit. The copyright owner can only advance with a copyright violation lawsuit if the work has been formally registered.
If a copyright registration has happened before any infringement takes place, or within 3 months from its publication date of work, it makes the copyright registrant entitled for “legal costs and the attorney’s fees” and “statutory damages”. In case the infringement occurs before the effective date of the copyright registration or after three-month grace period, then the copyright owner is not entitled to receive the statutory damages or the legal costs and the attorney’s fees. The date when the Copyright Office receives the complete registration application which consists of application, fee and the deposit copies, is the effective date of the copyright registration.
The statutory damages permit courts to award special damages in case of a successful infringement lawsuit and this relieves the copyright owner from the duty of the proving actual damages. Usually, the legal costs in any copyright infringement lawsuit, and in particular the attorney’s fees, are extremely expensive. By getting the work registered in a timely manner the court has the discretion to award attorney’s fees and legal costs to the copyright owner.
The Certificate of Registration serves as the prima facie evidence that the work is original and owned by the registrant of the copyrighted work. This becomes very vital, if it becomes essential for the copyright owner to get a preliminary injunction against a copyright infringer.
Apart from these, the advantages of registering a copyright also permits the copyright holders to sue infringers in a federal court and if done before or within 5 years of the publication, then it establishes adequate evidence in the court regarding the validity of the copyright and the facts which are stated in the copyright certificate.