If you’re serious about protecting your work, file for copyright protection with the US Copyright Office. Here are four important reasons why filing for copyright protection with the US Copyright Office is important:
1. Copyright registration establishes a public record of your copyright and puts everyone in the world on notice that you have sought and claim copyright protection under the US Copyright laws.
2. You cannot sue anyone for copyright infringement until you have filed for copyright protection with the US Copyright Office.
3. No award for statutory damages or attorneys fees will be made for any infringement of a copyright in an unpublished work which occurs prior to the submission of the copyright registration documents. The same holds true for published works, unless the copyright registration is made within three months after the first publication.
4. If the registration of your work is done within five years from its creation, it is considered prima facie evidence in court. Prima facie evidence means that if you ever went to court, proof of the copyright registration with the US Copyright Office would be sufficient evidence of your ownership of the copyrighted material.
The only way for another party to win would be for them to present evidence showing:
* that they had a pre-existing copyright claim to the work.
* that you permitted them to use your work.
* that you didn't actually create the work.
* that you stole it from them.