Copyright Registration: do it within 3 months of first publication or lose money.

A recent ruling in the Northern District of California serves as an important reminder for creators of copyright-protected works (and their entertainment lawyers) to register the copyrights as soon as possible, and always within 3 months of first publication.

In Shade v. Gorman, a videographer sued over defendant filmmaker's unlicensed use of plaintiff's footage.  The plaintiff sought attoneys fees and statutory damages for the infringement.

Defendant successfully argued that since the infringement occurred prior to registration of the copyrights in the footage, and more than 3 months after the first publication of the work, statutory damages and attorneys' fees were NOT available as a remedy.

Citation: Shade v. Gorman, 08-3471 SI, 2009 WL 196400 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 28, 2009) (order).

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