Copyright registration is the process by which a copyright owner places on record with the United States Copyright Office, a verifiable document that establishes ownership rights. A copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer code, and architecture that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. With certain exceptions, copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years, and gives copyright owners exclusive rights during this timeframe.
Although copyrights enjoy protection from the moment of creation, registration adds numerous benefits that are often overlooked. These benefits include establishment of prima facie ownership in an infringement dispute, as well as the ability to recover statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work and attorneys’ fees and costs in infringement litigation. These benefits provide copyright owners with a tremendous advantage in enforcing their exclusive rights. In the absence of registration, copyright owners are only entitled to actual damages and lost profits.
Watson LLP has experience with registering copyrights and performing title searches for numerous types of copyrights, like logos, computer code, audio recordings, architectural designs, books, and fabric designs. Our copyright registration practice seeks to protect our clients’ rights as early as possible, to strategically place them in the best position to recover statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs if infringement litigation should arise down the road.