top of page

Why should I register my copyright?

First, you do not have to register your work before you can claim a copyright. "A copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is 'created' when it is fixed in a 'copy or a phonorecord for the first time.'" (As per the USPTO). Although registration with the Copyright Office is not required to secure protection, it is highly recommended for the following reasons:

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

  • Registration is necessary before an infringement suit may be filed in court (for works of U. S. origin).

  • If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration establishes prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

  • If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

  • Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

Now, let's talk DMCA takedowns and enforcement actions. Technically, you don't need a registered copyright to file for a DMCA takedown. However, after a takedown notice is sent to a service provider, the provider usually notifies the user, subscriber or other person who is responsible for engaging in the infringing activity. The possible infringer then has the opportunity to file a Counter Notice and the Online service provider must restore access to the material after no less than 10 and no more than 14 business days, unless the you as the original notice sender informs the service provider that you have filed a court action against the user. These court actions come with registration deadlines as discussed above.

Therefore, if you own a copyright and want to try and enforce your rights, you should definitely consider a registration and how the registration deadlines might affect your enforcement.


bottom of page