The Benefits of Copyright Registration
As soon as someone writes a book or a piece of music he or she owns the copyright in that work. However that does not mean registering the copyright with the Library of Congress is not a necessary step in protecting the author’s or composer’s rights. In fact, filing a copyright registration is a necessity if those rights are to be properly protected. For instance, absent filing a copyright registration the copyright owner cannot sue in Federal court for infringement. Moreover, registering the copyright entitles the owner to obtain damages not available without registration. For instance, in the case of willful infringement the US copyright statute authorizes a court to award damages of up to $150,000, and a plaintiff can also recover his or her attorneys’ fees. Given that registration can easily be effected on-line and the relatively low filing fee (generally between $35 and $55), filing a copyright registration is something I recommend to all my clients who create a registerable work.