Even if you do not register your copyright, you own the copyright as soon as you express it in a format that is original and fixed. For instance, you can create a software program for your business. This program is copyrighted without any formal action on your part, but only certain parts may be protected. For example, you may have taken portions of another program and incorporated these portions into your program. You cannot claim a right in those pieces and could be in violation of their rights because of your use.
In another example, you could create a training program with images, uniquely shaped protype pieces, specific text describing your services and examples of some of the documents you use to create a unique service. All of these elements can be individually protected by copyright and some should actually be treated as a trade secret instead.
Many new considerations exist within the copyright landscape because of the practicalities of how to realistically deal with infringement and the potential significant changes in the law. There was a time when writers, songwriters, and artists would seal their work in an envelope and mail it to themselves so that they would have the postmark showing a date. Unfortunately, this could still cause an issue if the creative work was unlawfully used by someone else and that use was disputed. Copyright law is an area of law where many businesses assume they are protected without taking any precautions, but the benefits of copyright registration are one of the most obvious of all intellectual property law.
Copyright Registration Advantages
Many people erroneously believe that putting a © on a document protects your copyright. However, this is no longer required by law and the inclusion of the © can provide some benefit at trial, it is not essential to your rights. The benefits of a copyright registration are massive while the cost of obtaining a registration is a fraction of the cost of a patent or even trademark.
Without a copyright registration, you can’t even bring a lawsuit against someone who has infringed your copyright. You must submit an application before you can file suit against your infringer. In addition, a copyright registration allows you the possibility of having your attorneys’ fees covered and three times the damages for a willful infringement.
Lastly, copyright litigation is expensive and includes complicated arguments. One of the hardest things to show in a copyright claim is damages. Without damages, there is no reason to bring the suit. This is a difficult thing to prove, but a copyright registration allows you the right to use statutory formulas in lieu of expensive and wasteful litigation.
If your original creation, such as a transcript, song, computer software, photograph, book, brochure, training guide, architectural design or other written work provides value to your business, you should protect your investment and creative elements. Today, a copyright can last for as little as the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years, 95 years from creation or as long as 120 years from creation. Obtaining a copyright registration can provide years of protection.
You Can Control Your Work
Once the work is registered with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, you own the rights to the original and to all copies. You also own the rights to the derivative works that are based upon your original and all distributed copies. In other words, you can do what you want with your work because it belongs to you and you have proof that it is legally yours to use as you please.
Copyright Registration Made Easy
Ovaile Law Group makes copyright registration easier for you by advising you of the best methods to protect your work. All of your information is reviewed before submission of your application. Once you obtain your copyright, we aid you in the protection of your rights, as well as the preparation of agreements that will allow others to market your work if you desire them to do so. Call today at 612-326- 9733 to learn more about how your work can be protected.