Title 17 of the United
provides copyright protection to the authors of “original works of
including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other
works. The law covers both published and
non-published works and gives the owner of the copyright certain
rights such as to reproduce, to distribute, and to publicly
These rights attach the moment the work is
authored even when specific copyright protection via registration is
sought. It should be noted, however, that
when a work is made for hire the employer is considered to be the
law and not the employee.
Even though copyright protection via
registration is not required, there are advantages to registering such
following noted by the US
- Registration establishes a public record of the copyright
- Before an infringement suit may be filed in court,
registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
- If made before or within 5 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 3 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 Servicew for protection against
the importation of infringing copies.
The basic registration of a
copyright is fairly simple and requires three
- Completing the application form (available on the US Copyright Office website)
- Attaching the filing fee - currently $30 - for each
- Attaching two complete copies of the work if it published
in the US on or after 01/01/1978
Library of Congress101
Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000
there are many variations to the simple
procedure identified above and you should consult the US
website or your Intellectual Property Attorney for more details
pertaining to your particular situation.