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The importance of registering your copyright

At Wang IP Law Group, P.C., in California, we know how proud you are of your artistic creations, be they paintings, books, musical compositions, photographs, architectural drawings, computer programs or other expressions of your creative genius. We also understand your desire to maintain complete control over these creations. They are, after all, your intellectual property, and you have every right to prevent others from using, copying or distributing them without your permission.

You may already know that once you put your creation(s) into final, tangible form, they automatically become copyrighted and you can affix the copyright symbol to them. What you may not know, however, is that this automatic copyright is insufficient to fully protect you.

As the U.S. Copyright Office explains, you must register your copyrights to obtain their full benefits. While your automatic copyright and its accompanying symbol stop most people from stealing, expropriating, plagiarizing or claiming your creations as their own, other people are not so easily deterred. Should you ever find it necessary to sue someone for copyright infringement, you have no substantive proof that you actually created your creation without a copyright registration.

Registration benefits

Registering your copyright(s) is a reasonably simple and inexpensive procedure. Once you do so, you receive the following benefits:

  • You receive a registration certificate that includes a unique registration number and the date of registration.
  • This registration is prima facie proof that you created and own the copyrighted material.
  • Your registration is a matter of public record.
  • If you sue someone for copyright infringement, you can collect not only damages, but also attorney’s fees and court costs.

Although immediate registration is always your safest strategy, you have five years from the date on which you “publish” your creation to register your copyright. For registration purposes, “publish” means the date on which you put your creation into final, tangible form. It does not mean the date, if any, on which you actually published your work for sale to the public.

For more information on this subject, please visit this page on our website. 


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What Our Clients Say

Starting a new business can be a bit scary. Aside from worries of failure, there’s also the hassle of making sure all legal paperwork are properly filed. I reached out to Mr. Wang (Tommy) because of his excellent reviews and reputation and I am so glad I did. He was thorough and meticulous in answering all of my concerns and took time to find out special laws and policies regarding the kind of business I am starting. I could focus on the daily practical side of starting my new office without worry because I felt Tommy was reliable and took my case seriously. My business is opened and it’s all been a smooth start because of Tommy’s help. I have plans to start another business venture in the next few years and I already know I’ll be coming back to Wang IP Law.

The Shindig W.

I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.


I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.


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