Rights Must Be Registered To Prevent Copyright Infringement

Q.: I know I automatically own the copyright to an original song as soon as I write one. So why should I register my rights to the song with the U.S. Copyright Office?

A.: You must register your rights before you can file a lawsuit against someone who has infringed your copyright. Registration will also help prove in court that you own the rights to the copyright if someone infringes it. You cannot get certain types of compensation in court unless your work was registered before the infringement occurred. A registration also notifies the world of your right to control what is done with your work.

Q.: Does mailing my song to myself qualify as copyright registration?

A.: No. While this may help prove the song was written on a certain date, it does not create any legal rights and is not a substitute for registration.

Q.: How do I file a copyright registration application?

A.: To get forms and instructions, call the U. S. Copyright Office at 202-707-9100; for faxback service, call 202-707-2600; or download forms and instructions through http://www.loc.gov/copyright.

The Copyright Office will not send a receipt for your application and materials, so confirm delivery (e.g., use certified mail with return receipt or include a return-addressed postcard).

Q.: What does it cost to file a copyright application?

A.: The U.S. Copyright Offices charges $30.00 per application, including short forms.

Q.: I’m 16 years old. Can I file a copyright registration? Also, can I usemy stage name?

A.: Yes, a cartoon porn pics
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minor may file a copyright registration. Also, you can use your stage name or pseudonym, but to make business dealings easier, include both your legal name and pseudonym on the registration form.

Q.: If I make a mistake on the copyright registration form, is the registration automatically invalid?

A.: Not necessarily. In copyright infringement lawsuits, courts may excuse many kinds of inadvertent and immaterial errors in copyright registration forms. Also, you can sometimes file a supplemental registration form to correct a prior registration.

Q.: Can I register more than one work on a single form?

A.: If you are both the songwriter and performer on a CD or cassette, you can save time and money by filing one Form SR to claim the copyright in both the song and the sound recording. Also, you can register a collection of published or unpublished songs, sound recordings, or poems on a single form.

To include published works on a single form, the copyright claimant must be the same person for all works. For unpublished works, all individual works must be by the same author, or, if they are by different authors, at least one of the authors must have contributed “copyrightable authorship” to each of the works.

You can use Form CON, a continuation sheet, to list individual titles of all works on an application form. If a work is published, enclose two copies of the work’s best edition with the application. If a work is unpublished, enclose one copy of the best edition.

Q.: How long does copyright registration take?

A.: A copyright registration becomes effective on the date the Copyright Office receives a properly completed form, fee, and deposit items. Assuming your application for copyright registration is accepted, you will receive a copyright registration certificate in an average of nine months.

Q.: What is a derivative work?

A.: A derivative work (e.g., a pre-existing song’s arrangement or sound recording, a compilation album of earlier sound recordings, or a re-mixed sound recording) is based upon a pre-existing work. The owner or author of the original work controls the creation of and owns the rights to the copyright of derivative works.

Q.: How long will my song’s copyright last?

A.: Assuming you are the song’s only and original owner, and the song was written after January 1, 1978, a U.S. copyright will last until December 31 of the 90th year after your death.

Q.: Is my song’s copyright valid outside of the United States?

A.: Yes. In general, due to several international treaties protecting songs and sound recordings, U.S. citizens do not have to register their songs in most other countries for their songs to be protected in those countries. However, some nations have no copyright system or do not enforce their copyright laws.

The information contained herein is general and should not be applied to specific legal problems without first consulting with one of our attorneys.


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