Being the creative genius you are, you may already know that once you get your artistic creation into its final tangible form in Tennessee, it automatically receives a copyright. This is true whether you created a painting, a musical composition, a poem, a photograph, a computer program, a website or any number of other types of artistic pieces.
But while you can immediately attach the copyright symbol to your creation, the U.S. Copyright Office explains that this does not fully protect you. No, in order to have the full force of the law behind you, you must register your copyright.
Registering your copyright represents a reasonably simple, straightforward and inexpensive process that you can do online by going to the U.S. Copyright Office’s website. Once you complete the registration process, you receive the following benefits:
- A certificate from the Copyright Office containing a unique copyright number and the date on which you registered your copyright
- The public record of your copyrighted creation
- Prima facie evidence that you created your creation, when you created it, and the fact that you own its copyright
- The ability, should someone copy or otherwise infringe on your creation, to sue that person and collect both your actual damages and the attorneys’ fees entailed in the infringement suit
All in all, registering your copyright just makes good creative sense and good business sense, especially if you intend to sell, lease, license or otherwise distribute your creation to others.
You should not interpret this educational information as legal advice, but it can help you understand what a copyright protects and why you should register yours.