If you’re a content creator, take two minutes and read this article.
If your business creates articles, blogs, brochures, catalogues, images, websites, software, manuals, marketing materials, music and more, you have copyrights. Copyrights protect your works from being copied. They last for the life of the author plus 70 years, and for businesses, 95 years from the date of publication, or 120 years from creation, whichever comes first.
You don’t have to do anything to get copyright protection; it attaches immediately upon expressing an idea in tangible form. BUT you should do more! You should register your copyrights so as to be entitled to statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 per infringement, up to $150,000 for willful infringement, plus attorney fees, at the discretion of the judge.
REGISTER YOUR COPYRIGHTS
There is a deadline to be eligible for statutory damages. You must register your copyright within three months of publishing your work or before the work is infringed.
Statutory damages can be very valuable, because there is no requirement to prove actual damages. This is a protection that you don’t want to lose. The ability to assert statutory damages in a cease-and-desist letter is very effective. An infringer facing the potential of statutory damages is highly motivated to stop the infringement and will likely pay a negotiated settlement to avoid litigation. Remember, the court can also award your attorney’s fees, so an infringer is looking at not only damages of up to $150,000.00 but also having to pay you your legal fees.
You can prepare your own application to register your own copyrights. There are forms on the US Copyright Office website with instructions. But, be careful, little mistakes can also lead to disaster. It you don’t want to take the risk of doing it yourself, give me a call and I can handle it for you.
Register your important copyrights. They can be extremely valuable. Registering them gives you important rights, one of which is statutory damages. Don’t drop the ball and miss out.
About the Author:
Bill Honaker, “The IP Guy” is a former USPTO Examiner, a partner with Dickinson-Wright, and author of the forthcoming book, Invisible Assets – How to Maximize the Hidden Value in Your Business. To download a sample chapter, click here.