Grant Coffield

Article Summary:

Although copyright registration a not requirement for copyright protection, there are several reasons you should register your copyright.

Copyright Registration

The manner in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. For instance, registration is not a requirement for copyright protection? Copyright protection is established immediately, from the time the work is created in fixed form, such as a book, picture, videotape, music recording, or other intellectual work. So why should you register?

Registering a work with the Copyright Office offers several benefits, including:

  • Establishing a public record of the copyright claim
  • Establishing a presumption of validity of the copyright and the facts stated on the copyright certificate, if the work is registered before publication or within 5 years thereafter
  • Enabling the creator to claim damages and attorney fees in court actions, if the work is registered within 3 months after its publication or before an infringement of the work
  • Enabling the creator to record the copyright registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent the importing of pirated works
  • Copyright registration is also a prerequisite for filing an infringement lawsuit in court for a work of U.S. origin.

Registration may be made at anytime during the life of the copyright. The registration procedure is a relatively simple and inexpensive exercise, the advantages of which far outweigh the effort involved. Generally, the process involves properly completing an application form with an accompanying nonrefundable filing fee, currently $30 for most subject matter, and enclosing a nonreturnable deposit copy of the work being registered. In return, a significant deterrent is placed in the way of anyone contemplating copying the registered, proprietary work.

This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual legal advice.

Grant E. Coffield is an Associate in Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC Intellectual Property Department. His practice covers all aspects of intellectual property law, including the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, infringement and validity studies, licensing and trademark and copyright matters. As a registered patent attorney, Mr. Coffield has experience preparing and prosecuting patent applications in a variety of technical fields, with a specialty in the mechanical arts. For more information, visit:

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