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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.