Intellectual Property Insights from Fishman Stewart
Mini Article – Volume 22, Issue 24

Share on Social


The Benefits of Copyright Registration 

By Kristyn C. Webb

Recently, we filed an application to register the copyright for Finny the Fish. In the United States, and in many other countries, copyright protection arises at the moment a work is fixed in tangible medium. This means, for example, that you have rights as soon as you write a poem with a pen on paper, save a typed letter to your computer hard drive, record a song on tape, paint on canvas, sculpt in marble, or snap a photograph on your mobile phone.  A work is protected by copyright automatically: one need not file for protection with the government to protect a work. So, why would we take the extra step to register Finny’s copyright?
Copyright registration is optional, but it provides several key benefits. For example, for US works, you must have a registration to bring an infringement lawsuit in federal court. Timely registration (meaning within three months of first publication or before infringement) confers additional benefits in infringement lawsuits like the right to receive statutory damages ($750-$30,000 per work and up to $150,000 per work willfully infringed), attorneys’ fees, and litigation costs. The availability of statutory damages can be a powerful tool in stopping infringement and deterring would-be infringers. Copyright registrations also may be recorded with US Customs and Border Protection which has authority to seize and detain infringing products at the border.
For more information on copyright registration, contact Kristyn Webb.
Kristyn Webb is the Group Leader of Fishman Stewart’s Copyright Practice Group, and is currently earning a Master’s Degree in Copyright Law at King’s College London. 


Published December 2, 2022

Related Content from Fishman Stewart

Public Service Announcement: No. Mailing Something to Yourself is Not a Substitute for Copyright Registration or a Patent.
FishBits: Mini Article Volume 23, Issue 2

This practice is often called the “Poor Man’s Copyright” and the idea has been around for a long time. The theory is that mailing a copy of a work to yourself will provide you with certain legal rights akin to a copyright registration so long as the envelope remains sealed and bears a postmark by the United States Postal Service.

Read More