Many creative individuals delay registering their copyrights for a variety of reasons, but delaying your copyright registration can significantly weaken your intellectual property protection. Waiting too long to register your copyright can waive your right to the enhanced monetary remedies available to registered copyright owners whose copyrights are infringed. Importantly, the right to statutory damages is generally lost if someone infringes your copyright before you register it.
Registering a copyright is relatively inexpensive and puts you in a strong enforcement position if you ever need to stop someone from using your creative work. Indeed, statutory damages for copyrights registered in time can range from $750 to $30,000 per work. In the event that someone willfully infringed your copyright, the statutory damage award can be as high as $150,000 per work.
If you are not eligible for statutory damages, then your damages are limited to those actual damages that you can prove. Proving actual damages requires admissible evidence, which can be difficult, expensive, and time consuming to establish. Further, there may not be sufficient actual damages to justify enforcing your copyright. Thus, the ability to rely on statutory damages can be the difference between enforcing your rights under copyright law and watching someone use your creative work without authorization.
If you have questions about registering your copyright, talk to one of the copyright attorneys at Mohr IP Law.