Acumen Law Group, LLC

Electronic Copyright Registration: An Overview

Any time one creates an original work, such as a photograph or musical composition, that work is automatically copyrighted under common law.  With common law rights, a copyright owner can file suit against an infringer in state court and seek actual damages and “disgorged” profits. While copyright registration is not required for copyright protection, it is a prerequisite before a copyright owner can bring an action under the Copyright Act in federal court.  The primary benefit to bringing suit under the Copyright Act is the availability of statutory damages, which can go up to $150,000 per infringed work.  If copyright registration is made within three months after publication/creation of an original work, or prior to an infringement of the work by a third party, statutory damages and attorney’s fees are available to the copyright owner.  Thus, when a copyright owner fails to timely register, it can put him at a significant disadvantage in obtaining compensation for infringement.

Fortunately for copyright owners, the US Copyright Office recently began accepting electronic registration of original works.  The official Copyright Office website,, boasts a number of helpful articles and tutorials on how to electronically register copyrights.   Depending on the nature of the work, registration can take as little as an hour to complete and cost a modest $35.

At bottom, copyright owners should at all times prioritize timely registration.  If you are interested in learning more about copyright registration or infringement, please contact one of our attorneys at Acumen Law Group.

Authored by Bardia Fard, Esq.