Copyright for Authors and Speakers

Most of you know that your work is covered under the US Federal Copyright laws the instant your ideas become tangible. That’s wonderful news, but it sometimes leads to a false sense of security for creative people.

The problem is that if someone uses your material without permission, you might have a righteous beef legally, but not have an economic justification for pursuing your legal rights. This is because infringement of unregistered copyrights requires you to prove “actual damages” and pay your own legal fees. Actual damages are hard to prove, and in many cases will not cover the legal fees.

If you pay the $35-45 to register your copyright, then you can ask for statutory damages without proving actual damages, and your attorney fees are on the table. This makes the Cease & Desist letter much more effective and shows you take your creativity seriously.

You should make it a point to do your own copyright registrations on all your creative work – at least the work that is core to your creative business. Do this yourself because the forms are easy and if you mess up, the Copyright office will tell you what you did, and while you’ll have to refile in many cases, the lesson only costs you the $35-45 bucks.

You can find all the registration forms and great instructions at www.copyright.gov. If you need more help or need to enforce your copyrights, just let me know.






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