If copyright protections are automatic, why register your work?

| Apr 3, 2015 | Copyright Law

If you are a creative person in Sacramento, it is likely that you have works that you want to protect. Whether you have written a book, made paintings or developed software, ensuring that your work is safeguarded from copycats is an important part of a strong business plan.

However, under U.S. law, copyright protection technically begins at the time your work is created. If this is true, do you really need to go through the process of registering your works?

If protecting your legal rights is important to you, then the answer to that question is “yes.” According to the United States Copyright Office, registering your work comes with several benefits that you may not be entitled to otherwise.

First, if you register your work, it will become public record. Others will be able to know what you created and see that it is protected by copyright. You will also receive an official certificate acknowledging that your work is registered.

Next, registering your work allows you to collect damages if someone steals it. Imagine that someone copied your original work and began to profit from it. This action could hurt you and your livelihood immensely, but without a registered copyright, it would be more difficult to pursue a lawsuit. By taking the time to register your work, you will have solid proof of copyright protection, which will also be dated. When your work is being threatened, this alone can bolster your case and allow you to pursue statutory damages.

Registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office is a fairly straightforward process, but it is still beneficial to seek the guidance of an attorney. An attorney can make sure your paperwork is filled out and filed correctly, so there are no hang-ups along the way.