3 Reasons why copyright registration is important for all kinds of documents

Copyright registration is increasingly important for all types of businesses and all types of documents. it's not just about media content.

Companies and individuals should consider registering their copyrights in all kinds of documents they may consider valuable. Sales presentations and info sheets can be easily lifted by competitors, and without a registered copyright, the victim of infringement may be barred from effectively enforcing it's rights.

Here are three good reasons to register copyrights early.

1. Registration is required prior to filing suit. Although copyright protection exists from the moment a work is created, enforcing the rights conferred by the Copyright Act requires that the work be registered befoe the Courts will hear a plaintiffs case. Since registration can take many months before a certificate is issued, filing early can save valuable time after infringement begins, allowing the plaintiff to file for an injunction much sooner. (expedited filing IS possible, but costly and time still passes while waiting for processing)

2. Statutory damages. Copyright law provides for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, but only if the copyright was registered prior to the infringement and within 90 days of the work's first publication. Otherwise, the plaintiffudt prove it's actual damages, which can be difficult to quantify.

3. Attorneys Fees. Like statutory damages, lawyers fees are available only for works registered early. Since legal fees can easily rise into the six-figures, this can often mean the difference between enforcing one's rights and failing to do so.

Copyright registration is inexpensive, relatively easy, and takes only a few minutes (if done online), so registering is worthwhile in many situations.

check with an attorney, though, if your documents contain trade secrets or other proprietary information, since registration requires deposit of a copy of the works with the Library of Congress.

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