Copyright describes the right to sell, distribute, broadcast, perform, display, or use certain creative works. It is covered by Title 17 of the United States Code.
Your copyright belongs to you from the moment you create any work covered by copyright. This includes:
- Movies and videos
- Logo designs
- Software code
- Website copy
Many modern businesses, both large and small, generate a large volume of copyrighted work every single year.
If the copyright is yours from the moment of creation, why should you register it?
Registration Makes Copyright Easier to Enforce
Creating the copyright isn’t the problem. Getting people to respect it is.
Registration creates a public record of ownership. Without registration, it’s easier for another party to claim that they created the original work. Once you’ve registered your copy the courts hold that registration itself serves as evidence that you yourself hold the copy.
Registration also grants you the right to file a lawsuit to protect your copy, which you cannot do prior to registering the copyrighted material. Once you gain the right to sue over copyright infringement you gain the right to regain damages and losses caused by the theft of your company’s creative works.
You don’t even always have to sue to get that money back. Often we can put the infringer on notice. Not only can we stop them from making money on the copy, but we can often get them to pay back what they’ve stolen by serving them with a demand letter. This is especially effective when another company is the guilty party, a situation which happens more often than you might think.
Copyrights Are Big Business
Every time your copyright is violated you lose money. For example, a German company named Copytrack studied the prevalence of image theft alone. They found that over 2.5 billion images are stolen daily all over the globe, which results in over $600 billion in lost licensing fees.
The Business Software Alliance carried out a similar study. They found that software companies lost $52.2 billion dollars every year to copyright infringement.
If you are a company that makes a profit on licensing any copyrightable property, this should concern you greatly. These major losses could put a small start-up out of business.
The team here at Stone Studin Young & Nigro is prepared to help you protect your product. Contact us about our corporate and business law services today. We’ll help you protect your copyrightable material, and all of the rest of your intellectual property as well.
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