My friend Dana Shultz has a wonderful blog, “The High-touch Legal Services Blog,” for people who are starting or running small businesses. You can read it here. (Or subscribe to it using Google Reader and the RSS feed on Dana’s blog. See my articles on Google Reader here and here.)
I’ve copied part of Dana’s article here, but you might want to read the entire article – it’s not very long. And while you’re on his blog, look around. I think you’ll find other articles he’s written that you should read.
In the U.S., copyright protection subsists in a work of original authorship as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. 17 U.S.C. Section 102 There is no requirement that the work be registered with the Copyright Office or that a copyright notice be affixed. As discussed below, however, there are circumstances when registration and affixing a notice are advisable.
In summary, if you believe there is a reasonable likelihood you will need to bring an infringement suit to enforce your rights as a copyright holder, you should:
- Place a copyright notice on the work and
- Register the copyright with the Copyright Office
You can use the links Dana provides to register your own copyrights on material you think is important. Most people don’t think in terms of suing others for copyright infringement, but if the content is valuable, it may well be worth the small registration fee.
In case you’re wondering, Dana gave me permission to reprint this article.