Copyright: To Register or Not To Register

Technically, by the very act of creating a work, you’ve created copyright protection for yourself. Of course, if anyone gets ahold of your work and files a copyright with the US Copyright Office themselves, going into a court and explaining to the judge that you created it first, with nothing to back up that claim, isn’t likely to get you very far.

What is copyright registration?

A copyright registration is the official record of your legal ownership over your work—your exclusive “rights,” such as the right to copy, distribute, or sell the material. While you automatically own a copyright just by having created it, official registration is necessary in order to prove your ownership in court.

Can the “poor man’s copyright” legally protect my work?

Think the poor man's copyright will hold up in court? Think again
Think the poor man’s copyright will hold up in court? Think again.
You may have heard of the “poor man’s copyright” (mailing a copy of your work to yourself and keeping the dated envelope sealed upon arrival), but any attorney worth his or her salt will rip that claim apart—your stamped and sealed envelope only proves that the Postal Service can deliver a package. The best way to make a case against someone infringing on your copyright is to register your work with the US Copyright Office. Period.

With this in mind, unless you plan on keeping your work locked away in an attic for all eternity (which, by the way, is not a good moneymaker), it’s a good idea to register the work with the US Copyright Office. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and you can rest easy knowing that you have inarguable ownership of what you’ve worked so hard to create.

Why should I register my copyright?

Even if you can’t see yourself ever suing anyone for infringement, there are other great reasons to register your copyright.

Imagine this scenario: a screenwriter comes across your book, loves it, and decides she’d love to base her next screenplay on it. She’s a socially conscious individual who wants to make sure you get your fair share, but without a copyright registration, how is she going to know where to mail the check? If you’re registered, it’s simple. She searches the US Copyright Office records by title, locates the work, and sees the owner—your contact information is just a click away.

Ready to copyright your work? Click&Copyright can help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *