Copyright Registration

Copyright Registration

You must register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office before you are legally permitted to bring a federal lawsuit to enforce it.


Overview

Main Article: Copyright

Main Article: Intellectual Property

The purpose of copyright registration is to create a verifiable record of the date and content of the work in question, which is extremely helpful in cases of copyright infringement or plagiarism.

International convention, primarily the Berne Convention, provides international rights without the requirement for national registration. However, the United States is still an outlier in that it provides legal advantages for registering works of U.S. origin.


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Copyright registration

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Register your copyright to create proof of your copyright ownership and to aid you in fighting copyright infringement.

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Requirements by country

Country Registration Agency Copyright Registration Requirements
Albania Albanian Author’s Right Office Voluntary. Registration can be used as evidence in a court of law.
Argentina Ministry of Justice, Security, and Human Rights Voluntary. Registration serves as presumption of authorship and date of creation.
Australia None Not required. No voluntary procedure available.
Brazil Varies depending on subject matter Voluntary. Registration may help to provide evidence of authorship and which may aid in certifying precedence in the case of two similar works.
Canada Canadian Intellectual Property Office Voluntary. Registration is evidence of ownership in an infringement case.
China National Copyright Office Voluntary. Recommended, especially for software.
Denmark None Not required. No voluntary procedure available.
France Office of Literacy and Artistic Property Voluntary, may establish evidence of date of creation and a presumption of ownership
Germany None Not required. No voluntary procedure available.
India Copyright Office Voluntary, establishes prima facie evidence of the facts contained on the registration certificate and may be used in court as proof of those facts.
Israel None Not required. No voluntary procedure available.
Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs Voluntary, establishes presumption of facts contained in registration for use in court.
Russia Federal Institute of Industrial Practice Voluntary registration available for computer programs and databases.
United Kingdom None Not required. No voluntary procedure available.
United States United States Copyright Office Not required to obtain copyright protection, but required for domestic copyright owners to bring a suit for copyright infringement in federal court. Registration establishes prima facie evidence of facts contained in registration certificate if made within five years of first publication. Foreign copyright owners do not need to register before suing for copyright infringement, but at least one court has held that they are subject to the same preclusion of statutory damages as domestic authors.

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