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Why you need to register your copyright

At Nicoll Davis & Spinella, LLP, in New Jersey, we represent many entrepreneurs who have created works of art such as books, paintings, photographs, musical compositions, computer programs, etc. Such intellectual property becomes a valuable asset for these artists, one that needs protection.

It may surprise you to learn that at the moment your creation reaches final tangible form, it automatically gains a copyright. But it likely will also surprise you to learn that if you fail to register your copyright, you have little or no proof that your creation actually belongs to you should someone else seek to claim it as their own.

Copyright registration

The U.S. Copyright Office explains that only by registering your copyright can you obtain full legal protection of your creation. Should someone infringe on your copyright by stealing, plagiarizing, copying or otherwise claiming it as their own, you have no real proof of ownership without a copyright registration certificate. With one, not only do you have a unique copyright registration number, you also have documented proof of the date on which you created your creation.

Benefits of registration

Specifically, registration benefits include the following:

  • A certificate showing your copyright number and date of creation
  • Prima facie proof that your creation belongs to you and you own its copyright
  • A public record of your copyright
  • The ability to collect not only actual damages should someone infringe on your copyright, but also attorney's fees

You can easily and inexpensively register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Although you can do this any time within five years of your creation's publication, i.e., the date on which it reached its final tangible form, your best interests dictate that you register as soon as possible.

For further information, please visit this page of our website.


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