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Copyright Registration

Since the Copyright Act of 1977, no one is required to register their work with the Copyright Office in order to enjoy copyright protection. However, one may still register one’s work to obtain certain benefits. Registration is especially beneficial to those who expect to exploit their works for financial gain.

The Copyright Office provides good basic information about copyright and registration in their Frequently Asked Questions page: Copyright Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ also includes information regarding copyright registration.

The Copyright Office also provides very good basic information regarding copyright and copyright registration in their Circular no. 1, “Copyright Basics��?. Here is some of the information from that Circular regarding registering copyright.

“In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:
• Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
• Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
• If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
• If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
• Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies. “

The Copyright Office has provided a method for electronically submitting copyright registration applications through their Electronic Copyright Office – eCO. The registration application form is available online for viewing any time:
Application for copyright registration (form CO)

More about registration from “Copyright Basics��?: “Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired.��? Preregistration is also available for unpublished works. On the Copyright Office page regarding preregistration they list possible benefits:
“You may benefit by preregistering your work if:
• you think it’s likely someone may infringe your work before it is released; and,
• you have started your work but have not finished it.
You can preregister your work only if:
• your work is unpublished; and,
• creation of your work has begun; and,
• your work is being prepared for commercial distribution; and,
• your work is one of the following: motion picture, musical work, sound recording, computer program, book, or advertising photograph.��?

For more detailed information regarding copyright registration see The Copyright Office web pages: www.copyright.gov.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith