Works of authorship
can be registered under the Copyright Act in the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. As with most aspects of intellectual property law, registration confers additional rights to the holder. Thus, if registration is made within three months of publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions, rather than only an award of actual damages and profits. Further, if registration is made within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated on the certificate of registration.
Infringement of a copyright in a work of authorship occurs whenever, without consent of the owner of the copyright, there is a reproduction of the work, a preparation of a derivative work, a distribution of copies of the work to the public and by publicly performing or displaying the work. The Copyright Act does provide for "fair use" of the work.
Obtaining copyright protection is relatively straightforward. A copy of the work and the requisite fee are submitted to the Copyright Office located in the Library of Congress. The filing can be done on line.