COPYRIGHT AND THE NEED TO REGISTER
©2007 Michael Woodward
Understanding the basic rules regarding copyright and what it means is essential. The ownership of copyright is how intellectual property rights come into existence. These rights are the key to creating additional income for the creator.
What is Copyright?
Under the present copyright law, which became effective January 1, 1978, a work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created and while it is not actually necessary to register your copyright there are major advantages particularly if you intend to license your work.
Advantages of Registering
Besides establishing of a public record of the copyright, Copyright Registration must generally be made before an infringement suit may be brought. Timely registration may also provide a broader range of remedies in an infringement suit. This can be done by registering the copyright with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress in Washington. Forms can be downloaded online. If there was in the future an infringement of your rights, the fact that your ‘work’ was registered would provide physical evidence in a Court of Law. Registration costs $45 per filing. Registration is effective on receipt of your application, however don’t expect to receive your registration certificate for a while.
If you choose to register your work, package together the following materials in the same envelope:
- A properly completed application form
- A non returnable deposit (copy) of the work to be registered, and
- A nonrefundable filing fee in the form of a check or money order payable to the Register of Copyrights with each application.
It is possible to register unpublished works as a “collection”.
Use of Reproduction Rights
The owner of the copyright in a work of art or photograph, in this case you the artist, has the exclusive right to make copies, prepare or authorize derivative works, to sell or distribute copies and to display the work publicly. Anyone else wishing to use the work must have the creator’s permission. This permission can be granted by an agreement/license, hence the term “art licensing”.
Copyright basically lasts for a period of 70 years after the author’s death. This is for works created after January 1st 1978. Prior to this date other regulations apply which will not concern you.
There are many further nuances which are really too complicated and unnecessary to go into with regard to works created prior to this – suffice to say this basically is all you really need to know with regard to your ownership of the copyright.
©2007 Michael Woodward