By: Jeffrey G. Sheldon, Esq.

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. That said, even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several advantages to encourage copyright owners to register their copyrights. Among these advantages are:

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
  • Some courts may require registration for works of U.S. origin before an infringement suit can be filed.
  • Registration before or within five years of publication establishes a presumption in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
  • Registration within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work makes all potential remedies available to the copyright owner in a court action, including statutory damages and attorney’s fees, which often are the most valuable remedies.  Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and the infringer’s 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.

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