Do I have to register my copyright?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2023 | Copyright Law

Copyright is one of the best protections a creator has for his or her creative work. It is also often misunderstood.

Once you create a work and put it in a tangible form, you automatically own the copyright. You do not have to take formal steps to secure the copyright. However, you do have the option to register your copyright.

Not a requirement for protection

Registering your copyright is not mandatory. You retain protection as long as you created the piece or have creative rights and put it in a tangible form.

A requirement for legal claims

Registering your copyright is a requirement if you wish to bring a lawsuit against someone for infringement. Having this formal record is the only way that you can enforce your rights through the legal system because the U.S. Supreme Court made it a requirement.

Other benefits of registration

Registering your copyright also provides you with additional benefits and protection. It sets a provable time of ownership and gives the court solid evidence of ownership. Without registration, it can take time and effort to figure out who holds the real copyright. It also is helpful for issues with international infringement and prevents imports of items that may violate the copyright.

Registering a copyright is only possible through the U.S. Copyright Office. It requires an application and payment of fees. The process can take time, but once you file the application, you begin the record of formal copyright ownership. Registration is good for your lifetime plus 70 years.