Today, you made something special. An amazing new character for your graphic novel or maybe the next most popular song. This is going to be a hit. Did you know that your creations have an automatic copyright?
Yes, your work is protected and recognized as originally yours when you create it. While you do have an automatic copyright, there still are some limitations. You may want to consider registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office and here’s why:
- Proof of creation – When you register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, you will have legal proof of the creation and originality of your work.
- Public record – Your work will also go into public record, showing that you own your creation and the copyright. This also means that you can include your contact information in case someone wants to pay to use your work.
- Mandatory deposit – In most cases, copyright owners must “deposit” two copies of their work to the Library of Congress. This mandatory deposit must happen within three months of publishing your work. Registering your copyright will meet the deposit.
- Defense – When you register your copyright, you then can bring legal action against anyone who tries to infringe it. Even if someone else has already tried to copy you, you can register and sue them. When you register, you can also use the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program, which checks and detains imported good which violate your copyright.
- Strong evidence – If you register your copyright within five years of publishing, it will be considered “prima facie” evidence. This type of evidence is used to establish basic facts, like when something is created and who made it. It’s important for a successful copyright lawsuit.
- Damages – If you register your work three months after publishing or before someone infringes on your copyright, you may be able to get damages and reimbursement of legal fees in a lawsuit.
When you create something, it’s always smart to make sure that it is legally yours. While you likely have an automatic copyright, registering will help ensure that you can protect your artwork, writing, invention or just about anything else that you make.