As a creative Georgia entrepreneur, you likely have created several original works in the past and probably will create many more in the future. As you may already know, each of these original creations receives an automatic copyright upon its “publication,” i.e., its completion to tangible form. But this automatic copyright does not really protect your ownership rights in your original creation. You need to register it in order to do that.
The U.S. Copyright Office explains that copyright registration represents a reasonably quick and inexpensive process that you can complete online.
Copyright registration benefits
In addition to placing the copyright symbol on your creation, which you can do with only the automatic copyright, registering your copyright gives you the following benefits:
- You receive a copyright certificate showing your creation’s unique copyright number plus its registration date.
- You now have a public record of your creation, the fact that you created it, and the date on which you registered its copyright.
- Your copyright certificate becomes prima facie evidence of your original creation and the date on which you registered your copyright to it should you ever find it necessary to sue someone for copyright infringement.
- You can generally recover not only damages in a copyright infringement lawsuit, but also your attorneys’ fees.
Bottom line, registering your copyright protects you against anyone stealing, copying, selling or otherwise distributing your original creation without your permission. Only you can sell, license or lease it. Should an unauthorized person attempt to do so, your copyright registration protects your exclusive ownership rights in and to your creation.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.