If you are based in the U.S. , it is now mandatory to register your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can file a lawsuit. You may be eligible to collect statutory damages (up to $150,000 per infringement) and attorney's fees from litigation. Only copyright holders who have obtained a decision regarding their application may file a lawsuit. Pending applications are not eligible.
If you are not based in the U.S., you can file a lawsuit without registering first, but you will not be entitled to statutory damages (up to $150,000 per infringement) and attorney's fees from litigation.
There are a number of additional benefits to having your content registered with the U.S. Copyright Office:
- You receive a certificate of registration.
- Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
- By registering your content, you may be eligible to collect statutory damages (up to $150,000 per infringement) and attorney's fees from litigation.
- There is a public record of your ownership, your collaborators’ ownership, and the other relevant details of your content.
- If registration occurs within 5 years of the publication of your content, your registration is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.
- You can record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.