3 Basic Questions Answered About Copyright Registration

3 Basic Questions Answered About Copyright Registration

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3 Basic Questions Answered About Copyright Registration

Copyright registration is the process by which an official record is produced for the purpose of being able to verify a copyrighted work. Copyright registration, therefore, becomes an integral process of obtaining and securing a copyright and becomes the key factor in the protection of the copyrighted work, as well as the copyright owner.

Copyright registration also provides for the validity or verification in the case of illegal infringement and any subsequent legal claims or cases that might arise out the dispute of copyright ownership. Copyright registration can, as a result, produce an original copy of the work from the Government to prove validity in cases of dispute and verification purposes.

Is Copyright Registration Required?

Copyright registration is not required, as it is granted as an international right under the provisions of the Berne Convention of 1886. However, it is strongly suggested to register a copyrighted work for further protection of the material, as well as the copyright owner in terms of possible legal disputes or situations that may arise. A copyright, therefore, actually exists whether or not it is properly registered under United States legislation or law.

On the international plane, the United States did not enter the Berne Convention until 1989. Thus it maintained its original process for copyright registration as allowed by Federal law. The U.S. must consider all works of international origins as if they have already undergone the copyright registration process in the United States.

Where can a work be registered in the United States?

The United States Copyright office is the Government's institution that accepts the applications for registering a particular work. Though it is not required for any type of work or material to be registered in the United States to be recognized and protected as such, it is strongly recommended that a copyright owner do so for verification purposes.

In order for copyright infringement suits to be filed under United States law, copyright registration is required in order to continue in the proceedings. All copyright infringement cases are subject to the work being registered prior to the date of the suit, or at least three months from the date of publication.

An important advantage to copyright registration is that in the case of infringement lawsuits, the registration of a copyright work establishes prima facie evidence if the registration process was completed and a certificate of the registration process was bestowed within five years from the date of the first publication of the work or material in question.

Where are Copyright Registrations found in the United States?

Finding copyright registrations has been made fairly easy and convenient by the United States Copyright Office. All copyright registrations and their subsequent renewals that have been registered from 1978 and onward can be found at the Copyright Office’s official website. Those copyright registrations and renewals prior to that year are published Copyright Catalogs, that are made available on a semi-annual basis. However, films that were made between the years 1894 and 1969 have the copyright registrations made available in the Cumulative Copyright Catalogs volumes, which are separated and categorized in terms of decade. This publication is made available by the United States Library of Congress.

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