Copyright Zone & the
U.S.A. Copyright office
How can I register my work
to obtain legal validity?
The United States Copyright Office is a government agency responsible for registering copyrights and providing information about copyright law in the USA.
However, copyright is an automatic legal right upon the creation of an original artistic work, and registration with the US Copyright Office is NOT mandatory unless you intend to file a federal lawsuit in the case of a copyright dispute. Bear in mind, that when a copyright dispute emerges, the majority only want their work removed and most are unlikely to take their case to federal court due to the time and cost this process takes.
I am not from the USA, will my copyright still be valid there?
The USA has signed and is bound by, the international copyright treaty called The Berne Convention.
Some 179 countries, including the USA, have signed this treaty, please see here for a full list https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?treaty_id=15. If you are a citizen of one of these countries your copyright should be respected by the USA without the need to register your work at the US Copyright Office.
Here is a useful summary of what the Berne Convention agreement states https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/summary_berne.html .
How much does it cost to register work with the US Copyright Office if I still wanted to do it?
How long is the registration process with the US Copyright Office?
What are the disadvantages of registering work with the US Copyright Office?
One major problem is the backlog of copyright applications. The Copyright Office has a significant backlog of applications, causing delays in the registration process and making it difficult for copyright holders to enforce their rights.
COMPLICATED AND OUTDATED SUBMISSION PROCESS
Information on the US Copyright Office is complicated and confusing with its pricing structure not easy to follow as well as the lack of modern technology. The Copyright Office has been criticized for not using modern technology and automation to improve the registration process and make it more efficient.
Another problem is the cost of copyright registration, it can be quite high and not affordable for some creators and small business owners, especially those who are creating new work regularly.
Additionally, some critics argue that the Copyright Office is not doing enough to address online copyright infringement and piracy.
The copyright office is limited in its ability to enforce copyright infringement as it is only an administrative office and does not have the power to enforce copyright laws.
In conclusion, the United States Copyright Office faces several problems, including a backlog of applications, a lack of modern technology, a lack of enforcement against online infringement, and high costs of registration. These issues have made it difficult for copyright holders to protect their rights and may be hindering the growth of the creative industries in the United States.
What is the Copyright Claims Board (CCB)?
Legal copyright disputes in the US, are now mainly handled by the Copyright Claims Board (CCB). On filing a claim with the CCB you may at that point be advised to register your work with the US copyright office, either before filing or simultaneously with the claim.
Does the US Copyright Office perform any checks to ensure the originality of work?
No, the USA Copyright Office does not proactively check the rights, content, ownership, or plagiarism of the work being registered.
When you submit a copyright application, the US Copyright Office will review the application to make sure that it meets the requirements, such as containing a complete and accurate description of the work being registered, the name and contact information of the copyright owner or owners, and a deposit copy of the work. The Copyright Office may also check for any conflicts or inconsistencies with previous registrations or filings for the same work.
The Copyright Office DOES NOT evaluate the originality or creativity of the work being registered, or perform any checks for plagiarism or infringement. It is the responsibility of the copyright owner to ensure that their work is original and eligible for protection and that they have the necessary rights to register the work.
If there are any issues with the registration, such as conflicting claims of ownership or concerns about infringement, these may only be brought to light if someone challenges the copyright in court.
Specifically, see the extract below from USA Copyright Office Examination Practices published by the US Copyright Office itself (extract below):
“602.4(C) Factual Determinations and Administrative Notice
As a general rule, the U.S. Copyright Office accepts the facts stated in the registration materials, unless they are contradicted by information provided elsewhere in the registration materials or the Office’s records. Knowingly making a false representation of a material fact in an application for copyright registration or any written statement filed in connection with an application, is a crime that is punishable under 17 U.S.C. § 506(e). Ordinarily, the Office does not conduct investigations or make findings of fact to confirm the truth of any statement made in an application, such as whether a work has been published or not. However, the Office may take administrative notice of facts or matters that are known by the Office or the general public and may use that knowledge to question an application that appears to contain or be based upon inaccurate or erroneous information.
602.4(D) No Searches or Comparison of Works
When examining a copyright claim, the U.S. Copyright Office generally does not compare deposit copy(ies) to determine whether the work for which registration is sought is substantially similar to another work. Likewise, the Office generally does not conduct searches to determine whether the work has been previously registered.”