Neither notice nor registration is required for copyright protection. However,
both registration and notice provide substantive and procedural rights and any work
having any value should be registered and have a copyright notice placed on it.
Copyright registration allows you or your company, as the owner of the work, to file a
lawsuit against an infringer, obtain attorneys fees for enforcing its rights and obtain
statutory damages (no need to prove actual damages from the infringing activity) for
any infringement. In addition, use of the proper copyright notice forecloses any
argument by an infringer that the infringing activity was unintentional, thereby
significantly increasing the potential statutory damages award.
The Copyright Act provides for registration of copyrighted works and specifies
notice requirements to prevent innocent infringement of the copyrighted work.
Registration is accomplished by completing the required forms, filing copies of the
work with the Copyright Office, and paying the required fee. Different works require
different Copyright Office forms (textual works, for instance, use Form TX). The
copyright notice, which includes the © symbol or the word copyright, the year of first
publication, and the name of the copyright owner (i.e., Copyright 2003 ABC, Inc. or
© 2003 ABC, Inc.), should be placed at or near the beginning of the work, on its
cover or other places as appropriate for the work. If the work is later revised
substantially and then republished, the proper notice is © with the date of the
republished form, followed by the name of the company (e.g., © 2004 ABC, Inc.). It
should be your or your company's policy to include a proper copyright notice on all
publications when the work is first published regardless of whether an application has
been made or will be made to register the copyright.