Why Your Original Work Needs Copyright Protection
Understanding the benefits of copyright registration requires that you first understand how copyrights work. Whenever you create an original work, you are granted copyright ownership over that creation. From art to literature, film to coding, this applies to creations across a wide range of fields. If copyright protection is provided automatically, why should you spend money and time on formally registering your creation with the U.S. Copyright Office? Because registering your copyright enhances the protection of your creation and ensures your rights are looked after legally.
It’s On the Public Record
When a legal dispute arises over the use of copyrighted material, a key element of the process is establishing your ownership of the copyright. A formal registration with the Copyright Office is the easiest way to establish a verifiable paper trail of ownership for your creations, greatly enhancing your claims. Registration before the creation, or within five years of its creation, serves as prima facie evidence in court that you are the rightful owner of the materials in question.
Lawsuit Enforcement of Copyright
Most jurisdictions require that creations be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and with that process often taking several months, you do not want to wait until you need to protect your creation in order to file. Time spent waiting for your registration to go through becomes a time that you are unable to protect your creation from unfair use. Your position is significantly better when it comes to protection when you have the ability to file immediately.
Financial Protection is Possible
If your work is protected prior to the infringement, or within three months of publication of your work, you can seek financial damages from the parties responsible for infringing on your rights. This can include damages, attorney fees, and court costs. This can be particularly lucrative protection in the event that your work is the victim of a great deal of infringement, and can easily recoup the cost of registration many times over. The best way to keep others from stealing your work is to make it known violations are costly.
Protection Against Foreign Counterfeit Imports
Although bootleg operations outside the country can be harder to sue, that doesn’t mean you don’t gain extra protections from registering your copyright still. When your work is registered you can participate in a program with Customs and Border Protection to seize any imported goods which infringe on your copyright, preventing the counterfeit goods from going to market.