Understanding Copyright Protection and Copyright Violation

What copyright protection do I receive under US Copyright law?

Copyright protection arises the moment an author fixes a work in tangible form without the author having to do anything. In other words, if your work is complete, you have basic copyright protection. But is that enough?

The basic copyright protection that comes with simply completing your work doesn’t cover everything. Although it provides you with rights, it doesn’t allow you to pursue damages against those that violate those rights. If someone does use your work without permission, this basic copyright protection allows you to force them to stop using the work, but it does not allow you to seek financial compensation for their copyright violation.

Only by filing your work with the US Copyright Office do you establish a public record of your copyright, enabling you to seek damages if your copyright is violated. Without filing with the US Copyright Office, you cannot be compensated for any violations of your work.

Copyright protection means that you decide who can use your work and for what purpose, through licensing your work. Once you’ve established your copyright, no one else can use your work without your permission. Copyrighting your work gives you control over how your work is used and represented, allowing you to license out your work as you see fit.

Your creative work is your intellectual property. Copyrighting that works protects it from theft or misuse. A copyright is like a security system or an insurance policy that protects you and your intellectual property from loss, theft, or infringement.

Obtaining copyright protection under US copyright law is a smart and necessary step for anyone serious about their work. Whether you’re an author, developer, photographer, artist or musician you owe it to yourself to copyright that work.

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