Why Register a #Copyright? Top 5 Reasons for New York Businesses & Everyone Else
In nearly every business operation, there are manifold reasons to get a copyright registration. However, against the din of the great multitasking war, many businesses lose sight of the basic “no brainer” points behind getting a copyright registration. And with any investment, protection of intellectual property only pays off if the initial investment was actually made. From software to manuals to logos, all of these business assets can benefit from copyright registration.
So rather than dwell on the finer academic points of the registration equation, below are the quick and dirty Top 5 for securing copyright protection for you and your operation.
Top 5 Reasons:
1. You can Sue. I’ll say it again, no copyright registration, quite possibly no right to drag someone to court. It’s that simple. You may “technically” have a copyright the minute you write something down, but a court won’t care often unless there is a firm piece of paper (i.e., a registration certificate). Moreover, once you’re in federal court you may be able to inflict a world of hurt on an infringer with up to $150,000 in statutory damages and attorney’s fees.
2. Stop Fakers, Biters, and Infringers at the Border. Imagine making US Customs your enforcement agency? That is exactly what is possible with a federal Copyright registration. Leveraging one to prevent importation of infringing goods can mean the difference between competitive edge and catastrophic failure. Pro Tip: you will also need to record your copyright registration with the U.S. Customs Service.
3. Public Notice of Rights. As with all forms of protection, deterrence is the name of the game. With a copyright registration, as a legal matter, others are placed on notice that you have rights. Registration creates a public record that also provides much needed ammunition in quashing internet violations and infringements (again, no paperwork and an ISP may be less inclined to take your takedown request seriously). In addition, registration can affect your bargaining position in disputes and negotiations (registration provides the paperwork you may need to assign, sell, pledge or license your copyrighted asset).
4. Presumption of Validity. In a courtroom, a copyright registration within five years of a work’s “publication” will be deemed valid and the alleged infringer will be faced with an uphill battle of proving otherwise. Hence, a copyright registration, if undertaken early, makes an enforcement lawsuit more formidable.
5. It’s Really, Really Cheap. Copyright is by far the most affordable form of federal intellectual property protection. While each prong of intellectual property provides certain rights and remedies and addresses certain features of a work (e.g., contrast trademarks against copyrights), copyright offers significant protection, deterrent value, and other features for the cost of a good meal. At 35 dollars a pop (with online registration at www.copyright.gov), no business venture should be crying poverty.
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