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Copyright Law Explained

Benefits of Copyright Registration

Although registration of a copyrighted work is not necessary for the work to be protected there are numerous benefits to registering. These benefits include:

  • Bringing an Infringement Action: Registration is a necessary prerequisite for U.S. copyright owners to bringing a copyright infringement suit in federal court. (Foreign copyright owners need not register their U.S. copyrights before filing suit).
  • Evidence of Validity: If a registration application is submitted to the Copyright Office within five years after first publication of the work, the certificate of registration issued by the Office will constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the registration certificate. This could be important if a copyright infringement case is brought involving the work.
  • Statutory Damages and Attorneys’ Fees: To be eligibility for the awarding of statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in a copyright infringement case the copyrighted work must be registered before infringement commences, with limited exceptions. Actual damages in an infringement suit may be either nominal or difficult to prove so having the ability to claim statutory damages in extremely significant and may even determine whether it makes sense to sue in the first place.
  • Satisfies Deposit Requirements: Irrespective of copyright protection and subject to some exceptions, the Copyright Act requires that copyright owners deposit two copies their works with the Library of Congress within three months after the works have been published. This is commonly referred to as mandatory deposit. (The penalty for not doing this is a fine that can only be imposed after the Copyright Office makes a formal demand for the copies on behalf of the Library). When a registration application is submitted to the Copyright Office the copies of works submitted with that application usually satisfy the Library’s independent deposit requirements.
  • Creates a Public Record: Registration is considered notice to the world of your copyright claim. Among other things, this helps people who wish to license your work to ascertain the status of your work and to find you.

To stay up-to-date with the many benefits of copyright registration, join the alliance today—it’s free.