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Copyright Registration: Why Register Your Copyright?

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Copyright Registration: Why Register Your Copyright?

Copyright Registration: Why Register Your Copyright?

As a creator, business owner, designer, etc., you take pride in your work. 

Spending hours, days, weeks, months, and maybe years on a product, service, or other work gives you a sense of pride and purpose, alongside any monetary compensation you may receive. 

But how do you ensure that what you’re sharing with the world isn’t illegally duplicated?

What Is Copyright?

As an author or creator, you value being able to share your expression. Copyright is a type of intellectual property that puts value on that expression by protecting your original authored works, whether it be a product, service, or other creation.

As soon as you put that work out as a “tangible form of expression,” your work can be considered copyrighted. Provided that you register your copyright legally. 

Creating independently is a cornerstone of copyright law, as you create a work yourself without copying anyone or anything. 

Once you create something original (a painting, book, digital piece, etc.), you are the owner of that work and are entitled to copyrights of that work. If you are an employee or contractor creating work under another entity, such as a company or other employer, the copyright belongs to the employer/company. 

What Does U.S. Copyright Law Provide?

As a copyright owner, you’re legally entitled to certain rights via U.S. copyright laws. Under current copyright law, works created on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years

You have exclusive rights as the owner:

  • Reproduce the work in copies
  • Prepare derivative works (sequels or prequels) based on the original work
  • Distribute copies through sale, leasing, rent, etc. 
  • Perform the work publicly (either in person or by digital sound recording)
  • Display the work publicly

What is Copyright Registration?

While authoring and owning a work automatically gives you fixed copyright, there are other steps you can take to enhance the protection of the work that you have created. 

Registering your work is one of the most important steps you can take as a creator. Copyright registration is not required, but if you were to take legal action regarding your work at any point in time, the U.S. requires copyright registration (or refusal) in order to proceed with litigation regarding your work.

Once registered, your copyrighted work will be held on public record, making it more valuable to the licensing marketplace and the general public by allowing people to research copyright information. 

You can only register your work for claims to copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. There are significant benefits associated with copyright registration as well.  

Benefits of Copyright Registration

Registration is Public Record

When you register a copyrighted work with the U.S. Copyright Office, that automatically becomes a public record. 

In a searchable database, anything from a painting to a song or toy patent can be found by anyone looking for it. This makes it easy for people to find your work and see that it is copyrighted. 

Registration Gives You Legal Standing 

Without the knowledge that your work is copyrighted, anyone could steal it. If, in fact, it is your work and you own rights to it, you could say that whoever stole it is infringing on copyright law if your work is registered

Without copyright registration on public record, you would have no grounds to file a copyright-infringement lawsuit. 

Protecting your legal rights by registering your work gives you legal proof of ownership to use in a court of law. This will maximize the damages caused by copyright infringement and minimize any burden that would have been caused by a “he said, she said” battle. 

Registration Will Maximize Legal Damages 

With copyright infringement, you’re left proving the damages caused by someone stealing your authored work, concept, etc. 

With proper copyright registration, however, you are entitled to both statutory damages and attorney fees as well. This could be up to $150,000 in statutory damages per copyright infringement, provided that you register your work 90 days before the actual infringement occurs. 

Trusted Business Lawyer in Los Angeles

When it comes to running your business, there are plenty of things to consider, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the legalities required to operate efficiently. Enlisting the services of an experienced business lawyer can ensure that any legal issues that arise in your business are sufficiently addressed and resolved.

With Rokita Law, you can breathe a little easier knowing you have a business lawyer on your side that offers solutions to many legal needs with experience, passion, and integrity. Located in Los Angeles, California, we practice in many areas, like civil litigation, business law, real estate law, and intellectual property, to give you well-rounded support with trusted, professional lawyers.

Schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help, and watch your business thrive.