logo
logo
logo
MENU
Jeanne Hamburg
Member
Jeanne Hamburg
Visit Profile

The Importance of Copyright Registration

The Importance of Copyright Registration

For a long time, courts were divided over the importance of securing copyright registration prior to bringing an action claiming that a party infringed (that is, trespassed upon) the owner’s copyright in a creative work (film, tv program, literary work, art, etc.). 

The Supreme Court resolved the question definitively in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, 598 U.S. ___, 139 S. Ct. 881(2019), holding registration (or its denial) by the Copyright Office is required. Moreover, unless an application for registration is filed within three months of publication of the work, the copyright owner will be stripped of the ability to obtain its attorneys’ fees if it prevails, and “statutory” (pre-calculated) damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, regardless of its ability to prove lost profits or the infringer’s profits from the infringement.

But even though the law is now clear, a recent district court decision underscores the importance of correctly securing copyright registration. In Wolf Designs v. Five 18 Designs, 2022 WL 10551564 (D. Ariz. October 18, 2022), a federal court held there were fact issues as to the validity of a group copyright registration (registration for a group of works, in this case, “vehicle wraps, large vinyl graphics or decals applied to car bodies”). The application for that group registration allegedly wrongly stated that the works were “unpublished,” meaning that they had not been offered for sale to third parties. This simple mistake could result in the plaintiff’s forfeiture of attorneys’ fees and statutory damages. Moreover, the other copyright registrations in issue were not published within three months of publication, meaning the sole chance of recovery of attorneys’ fees and statutory damages is on the registration with an alleged mistake in the application.

For these reasons, we strongly encourage owners of valuable copyrightable works to seek experienced copyright counsel when completing copyright applications. Likewise, if a company or individual is on the receiving end of an infringement claim, it is wise to secure counsel with the ability to recognize and exploit flaws in registrations such as those in Wolf Designs.

 If you have any questions about copyright registration or enforcement, please feel free to contact me at jhamburg@norris-law.com

Share
Related Posts
Artificial Intelligence Cannot Serve as an Inventor of a Patentable Invention
Netflix Sues Bridgerton Musical Creators for Copyright and Trademark Infringement
Who Owns Memes?
Jeanne Hamburg
Member
Jeanne Hamburg
Visit Profile
Related Posts
Artificial Intelligence Cannot Serve as an Inventor of a Patentable Invention
Netflix Sues Bridgerton Musical Creators for Copyright and Trademark Infringement
Who Owns Memes?
Share
Join our growing team
We are looking for quality attorneys to help us do more for our clients. At Norris McLaughlin, each attorney has the same opportunity to succeed whether you’re at the beginning of a career or pinnacle of the profession.
Subscribe to our content
Receive timely legal information
delivered to your inbox
Subscribe to our content
Receive timely legal information
delivered to your inbox
© 2022, Norris McLaughlin, P.A., All Rights Reserved. Attorney Advertising.
Meritas

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume you consent to our cookie policy. Learn more