Copyright Registration

Under the current copyright law, copyright subsists in original works of authorship from the moment of creation and fixation. Registration is permissive rather than a statutory formality, and a work may be registered at any time within the life of the copyright. Although registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration, including:

  • registration establishes a public record of the basic facts of a copyright claim;
  • for works of U.S. origin, registration is necessary before an infringement suit may be filed in court;
  • if made before or within five 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 three 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 Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

McHale | Slavin has advised many clients concerning the benefits of registration and is experienced in prosecuting claims before the United States Copyright Office. Whether a literary, visual, musical work, or sound recording; whether a computer program or database; whether a vessel hull or a mask work - our attorneys and legal professionals are experienced in guiding you through this administrative process and securing registrations for your claims. In addition to assisting our clients in the prosecution of their claims to copyright, we are also experienced in defending our clients' exclusive rights as copyright owners if that need arises. Contact us for additional information or to schedule a consultation.