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What Happens if the Copyright Is Not Registered?

Copyrights protect the exclusive rights of owners over their work such as art, literature, music, and even advertisement copy. This article will share with you the importance of copyright registration and what happens to your unregistered copyright.

What Do Copyrights Mean?

Copyrights aim to protect original artists and creators. Any work that is in a tangible form can obtain copyright protection. This means copyright does not protect any sort of idea or concept. As soon as a work is put up in a tangible form, protection under Copyright Act literary work automatically applies to the work.

However, there has been a debate every now and then regarding whether the nature of online copyright registration is mandatory or not. In most of the court cases in India, it has been held that registering a copyright is not mandatory, though there have been some judgments that say otherwise.

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What Are the Exclusive Rights an Owner Can Enjoy Only Over Their Registered Copyright?

Being the creator of the work and owner of the registered copyright, you can enjoy the exclusive right to

  • Perform your work in the public
  • Publish or distribute your work, online or offline
  • Make variations or derivatives of the work
  • Display your work

Since an original Work is immediately protected by Copyright upon completion, registration is not necessary in order to obtain protection. The failure to register one’s work for copyright has no real risks or penalties.

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What Benefits Are Missed Out on By the Owner of an Unregistered Copyright?

It is in the best interest of the owner to register their copyright. This is because registration of copyright fetches the owner some expanded benefits. Though you gain protection over your work soon after you complete it, there are some rights exclusive to a registered owner of copyrights. A few disadvantages to unregistered copyright are as follows:

  1. Unregistered copyright owners have a lesser chance to reproduce their original work, while the owner of registered copyrights can produce, sell, and perform the original work easily.
  2. Registered copyright serves as proof of original work, and proves that the owner has some exclusive performance rights in copyright law over the work. While, in the case of unregistered copyright, it gets difficult to prove one’s ownership over the original work.
  3. The risk of copying, or reproducing unregistered work is higher compared to registered work. Also, protection from being copied, or reproduced becomes difficult in the case of unregistered copyright.
  4. A suit for infringement can be filed only when the copyright is registered. Hence, if your copyright is not registered, you will not be able to bring a suit for infringement. As a registered copyright certificate acts as prima facie evidence of the original work against which a suit can be initiated.
  5. It becomes easier to raise a loan if your copyright is registered. Loans can be easier sought based on a registered copyrighted work, rather than an unregistered one.
  6. The owner of unregistered copyright cannot stop anyone from infringing his rights unless he registers his work
  7. Reimbursement of damages of a suit is also largely affected by registration. If your copyright is registered you can get a reimbursement of the statutory damages along with the attorney’s fee. In case, you have an unregistered copyrighted work, you can only fetch for the actual loss, and the amount gained by the person who used your work.

As you can see, registration of a copyright can help you with many added advantages, and rights. Not to mention, you can save a substantial amount by registering your copyright. The burden of proof lies on the owner in the case of unregistered copyright, as the owner has to prove his right by collective evidence. Also, registration of copyright can be considered as a pre-condition for filing a lawsuit.

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Some Other Benefits of Copyright Registration

1. A Public Record of Ownership

Once you have your copyright registered, it gets published for the general public and becomes searchable. This enables the owner to display his ownership freely in the public domain. This brings a clear advantage to the owner as no one can claim that they were unaware of the owner and his work, or can doubt the ownership of the owner over his work. Also, the owner gets credibility and a good reputation for his work.

2. Presumption of Ownership

The owner can presume his ownership within five years of publication of the work. As already mentioned, the registration serves as prima facie evidence for the ownership in the validity. In case someone tries to infringe the rights of the owner, they can order to restrain that infringer with the presumption of their ownership.

3. Standing Out in the Crowd

As we know the world today holds tremendous competition everywhere, and so you must stay unique in the crowd. By registering your work as copyright you can make your work credible and inaccessible to your competitors, thus driving out some competition and pushing your profits.

The Takeaway

With registered copyright objection form, you will be able to protect your work from being stolen or infringed. Retaining the exclusive rights over your work can fetch you enormous economic benefits, which may not be possible with unregistered copyright. Therefore, it is a must that you register your copyright to safeguard your original work. Reach out to the experts at Vakilsearch and copyright your creations in the best way possible.

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