A copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. A copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. The Copyright Office handles copyright registrations. Owners of copyrighted works seeking protection in other countries should first determine the extent of protection available to works of foreign authors in that country.
There are four basic advantages to Copyright Registration. Registration allows a copyright holder to sue an infringer in federal court, an option that is not available to copyright holders that have not registered. It serves as an automatic indication that the registrant is the actual owner of the copyright, making it the infringer's responsibility to prove differently. It enables the copyright holder to sue an infringer for statutory damages so that he doesn't have to prove that the infringer's use of the work actually damaged him. Finally, registration provides notice to the world of the copyright holder's claim of rights, preventing an infringer from claiming that he used the work innocently, without knowledge of the creator's existing interests.
There are no actual disadvantages to Copyright Registration. Registration conveys additional rights and benefits, making it easier for the owner of an original work to protect it against infringers. Registration does not take any rights away from the creator of the work. Perceived disadvantages can only be viewed from a functional or theoretical perspective. Functionally, the need to complete a registration takes time and costs money. Theoretically, some activists think copyrights stifle the creative landscape, preventing people from taking works and using them to make new works that will further contribute to society.
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There are four basic advantages to copyright registration.
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