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US Copyright Laws FAQ's

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Home  How it works Who's joining?  Benefits  Testimonials  Membership Options  Copyright FAQ's
Country Specific Copyright FAQ's Some commonly asked questions about US Copyright Laws and registration.  Some commonly asked questions about Canadian Copyright Laws and registration.  Some commonly asked questions about UK Copyright Laws and registration.  Some commonly asked questions about International Copyright Laws and registration.
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or call toll free in North America 1-877-706-2766
Many people contact WorldWideOCR to ask when, where and why they should register their copyrights. Each nation has their own interpretation of International Copyright Law, and therefore, applies different statutes and protocol.

If you intend to register your copyrights with a national copyright office other than the US Copyright Office, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the laws of the nation in which you register by contacting that office directly. Please review this page at the World Intellectual Property Organization's Directory of Intellectual Property Offices for more information specific to your country.

For your general reference, following is a collection of excerpts from the U.S. Copyright Office Website gathered on May 25, 2005:

  »How is a US copyright different from a US patent or a US trademark?
  »When do I need to file for a US copyright registration?
  »How long does the registration process take?
  »Do I have to register with the US Copyright Office to be protected?
  »What is the duration of a US copyright?
  »How long will my US copyright be archived?
  »When is my US copyright officially date-stamped?
  »Why should I register my copyrights with the US Library of Congress?
  »Is my US copyright good in other countries?

»How is a US copyright different from a US patent or a US trademark?
Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.
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»When do I need to file for a US copyright registration?
If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
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»How long does the registration process take?
The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the amount of material the Office is receiving. If your submission is in order, you may generally expect to receive a certificate of registration within approximately 4 to 5 months of submission.
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»Do I have to register with the US Copyright Office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
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»What is the duration of a US copyright?
The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after Jan. 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors.
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»How long will my US copyright be archived?
Full-Term Retention of Copyright Deposits

The Copyright Office general policy is to retain published, registered copyright deposits for at least 5 years with the exception of deposits of published works registered in Class VA (visual arts). These are retained for at least 10 years. Unpublished deposits, however, are ordinarily kept for the full copyright term. Registrants who wish to ensure that the Copyright Office will keep their published deposits for the full length of the copyright term must pay a fee of $425 to cover processing and storage costs.

Requests for full-term retention should be sent to:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
Chief, Information and Reference Division
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000
Attention: Full-Term Retention Request

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»When is my US copyright officially date-stamped?
§ 410. Registration of claim and issuance of certificate
(d) The effective date of a copyright registration is the day on which an application, deposit, and fee, which are later determined by the Register of Copyrights or by a court of competent jurisdiction to be acceptable for registration, have all been received in the Copyright Office.
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»Why should I register my copyrights with the US Library of Congress?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.
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»Is my US copyright good in other countries?
The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country.
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Topic specific Copyright and other Author's Rights Information
Sound Recordings  Literary Works  Visual Arts  Performing Arts  Serials & Periodicals  Copyright Infringement 
Performance Rights  Mechanical Rights  Synchronization Rights  Grand Rights  Digital Rights  Register Inventions 
Online Copyrights Registration using SEAL™ files... 
Important International Copyright Links:
Berne Convention  Universal Copyright Convention  Rome Convention  WIPO

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