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|LegalCornerTM - Copyright F.A.Q.'s|
Q.What are the benefits to registering a copyright?
First, the copyright owner must register the work with the United States Copyright Office before bringing a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
Second, if the copyright owner registers the work within three months from the date of first publication, or at least before any infringement occurs, the copyright owner may collect statutory damages from the infringer. Failure to register within this time frame means the court may only award the copyright owner actual damages, which depending upon the circumstances, may be nominal or difficult to prove.
Third, statutory damages require that the infirnger pay the copyright holder a minimum of $750 per infringement and a maximum of $30,000 per infringement as the court considers just. In addition, where a court finds that the infringement was willfully done, the court may increase the award of statutory damages to a maximum of $150,000. Finally, even if the court finds the infringer acted 'innocently' the court may only reduce the damages to a sum of not less than $200.
Remember if the copyright owner fails to register his or her copyright with the United States Copyright Office none of these statutory damages are available.
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