Why Seek Copyright Registration

Registration is a Smart Move

In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several benefits to encourage copyright owners to seek registration.

Public Record and Prima Facie Evidence

Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

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.

Customs Recordation

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.

Registration is Required to File a Lawsuit for Infringement

Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.

Remedies for Infringement

If a person copies or uses your work without your permission, you can seek financial recovery. 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. The law will enable you to recover statutory damages up to $150,000.00 in cases of intentional copying, and from $750.00 to $30,000.00 for unintentional copying. Or you may receive the amount of any profits earned by the person who copied your work and your lost profits as a result of the infringement. If registration is not made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

With copyright registration, you will also have the power to stop sales of unauthorized copies of your work and to have copies seized and destroyed.

Copyright Notice

The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U. S. law, although it is often beneficial. Because prior law did contain such a requirement, however, the use of notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.

Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if a proper notice of copyright appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant's interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, except as provided in section 504(c)(2) of the copyright law. Innocent infringement occurs when the infringer did not realize that the work was protected.

Please note that you cannot exercise any of these legal remedies without first obtaining a copyright registration for your work.


To receive information on copyrights please contact us by phone or email ip@nathlaw.com.