Many Writers and Artists assume the poor man’s copyright when creating original pieces and believe that this will be enough to protect themselves and their Intellectual Property. In fact, thousands of Writes and Artists find themselves embroiled in lawsuits each year that could have been avoided had they registered their work with the US Copyright Office. Copywriting while not a simple process; does not need to involve expensive lawyers and thousands of dollars and can even be done on line.
When you copyright your work it is protected from the very minute the US Copyright receives it. Not only does this provide you with instant protection, but frees up your time to be creative and to further market your work. Here are the benefits of registering your work with the US Copyright Office.
Once you register your writings or your art work including digital art work; a public record is created attesting to the fact that you are the original owner and creator of your work. This law gives you the right to sue anyone who deliberately copies, distributes or re-creates your work for a profit without your knowledge and consent. While the record is made public your work is not, and anyone wishing to buy it or license it will have to go through proper legal channels.
Prove you own it
Ideas are often in the air; and sometimes two very similar books, screenplays or even pieces of art can be created by different people in different parts of the World. Copywriting your work means it is registered as an original idea or creation, and anything else baring too close a similarity will be investigated before a copyright is given to someone else with similar writings, drawings or art work.
We live in a lawsuit society, and people often steal or plagiarize the work of others. While some Artists and Writers who assume the poor man’s copyright by mailing a copy of their work to themselves are successful in Court, many are not. Registering a copyright means that you have a public government record to prove it is yours should someone else challenge your ownership, or even worse steal your work and pass it off as their own. If the second is done, and they actually make a profit you can be awarded financial damages in a Court of Law.
License your work
Any Writer or Artist who wants to license their work to Publishers, Art Galleries and Manufacturers must first prove they are the owner of the work. Having a copyright and public record detailing your ownership means that you are free to search out licensing agents to market your work to earn royalties and have them find you through public access to Government records.
Re-using your work
Writers and Artists often seek to maximize their profits by using all or part of their works. By registering a copyright an author is then able to include excerpts of former novels into new ones; or simply allow others to re-use parts of them by licensing agreements. Writers are also able to keep translation rights to their work so that they can receive fees when a Publisher wishes to translate and distribute to overseas markets.
In the same vein, an Artist can rent out or lend their art works to public and private Art Galleries and Institutions, and retain all legal rights to their creation. Copyrights from the US Copyright Office last the life of the Author/Artist including the year they die and fifty years after their death unless otherwise assigned.
The reasons to copyright your work at the US Copyright Office far outweigh the small fee’s and filling out of Government forms. No creative person wants to spend their time in litigation, have profits stolen from them, or even miss out on licensing agreements that establish their brand and help them diversify. Do yourself a favor protect your Intellectual Property right from the beginning and Copyright your work!