Copyright law is the legal mechanism that stands behind most creative or artistic endeavors. Works of authorship — such as your website content, brochures, source code, sculpture, furniture, architectural works, works of art, marketing materials, reports, documents, and so forth — are protected by copyright law upon creation, but only minimally. Unless your copyrighted works are subsequently registered, your ability to collect damages, should enforcement ever be required, is severely limited. The best practice for building your company’s value is to have a program in place ensuring that such works are registered with the Copyright Office at periodic intervals.
Our copyright lawyers know how to help you protect your valuable works of authorship, as with best registration practices.
The Copyright Act provides some key benefits to those who register their works:
- You can collect money damages of up to $30,000 per infringing work without having to show any actual damage. If you can show willful infringement, the amount of damages goes up to $150,000 per infringing work.
- You can collect lawyers’ fees from the infringer — in additional to monetary damages — reimbursement for monies spent on hiring a copyright lawyer to prosecute the infringer.
- You must have a registration in order to file a copyright lawsuit in federal court.
Statutory damages are available only for works that were registered with the Copyright Office prior to infringement or within three months from publication of the infringing work. Thus, the best practice is to retain a copyright attorney to implement a program for proactively registering your works of authorship as they are created. Doing this puts you in the best position to stop any infringer. When first retained, our copyright attorneys look at your copyright management approach with a proactive eye, towards preventing problematic situations. Next, our copyright attorneys conduct an inventory to make sure that each one of your key works of authorship is monitored, so that any infringement can be identified early and action can be taken quickly to stop the infringement of your copyright.