The Biggest Mistake When Dealing With Copyrights Is Failure to Register
Most creative works that can be created and captured can be protected by a copyright, such as movies, books, websites and images. It is true that copyright protection is basically automatic once your creative work is recorded in a tangible way, but if you have not formally registered your copyright, protecting it is an uphill battle.
If you want to protect your computer programs, copyright covers all of the copyrightable expression in the software, however, it but does not protect the functional aspects, which are instead protected by the patent law.
If you want to file an action protecting your copyright, you will have to register it first, which may take several months. Failure to register your copyright can also impact your recovery from a legal action protecting your copyright: not only you will incur high legal fees, you will not be able to make a claim for statutory damages or attorney’s fees for any infringement of the copyright of an unpublished work that occurred prior to the registration of the work, or any infringement of the copyright of a published work that occurred after the first publication of the work and before the date of its registration, unless the registration is made within three months after the first publication of the work. Statutory damages can reach $150,000.00 per infringement, and without that wonderful remedy, you will have to prove actual damages which are notoriously hard to prove, especially in a software case.
Register your copyright as soon as possible, ask your outside general counsel to help.
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