The answer to the above question might surprise you: An individual seeking to gain legal rights in created work need … do nothing.
One online overview addressing copyright particulars puts it this way: A copyright “is automatically established when content is generated.”
That’s simple, and it seems logical, but it is not the end of the story. When others seek to exploit your creative work through infringing tactics, you must have a proactive strategy to legally ward them off.
Establishing copyrights is one thing: enforcing them is another
You created this wonderful thing, and the law acknowledges that. How do you now take one additional step forward to enforce your legal right against parties seeking to unlawfully profit from your inspired efforts?
- Contact an experienced intellectual property legal team for help in strengthening your copyright protections; and
- Promptly have proven legal counsel register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office
That latter step might seem simple enough, but federal courts have actually been in a bit of disarray until recently concerning what precisely constitutes registration, and when it lawfully takes effect.
That lack of uniformity is now resolved, in the wake of a ruling issued earlier this month by the U.S. Supreme Court. Filing an application is not enough to ensure protection; rather, the final stamp of legal registration must be secured before a copyright owner can take action against an infringer in federal court.
The confidence-inducing prescription for any creator is clear enough: have a practiced IP legal team file/secure copyright registration.
As an article noting the recent SCOTUS case stresses, “the best defense is a good offense.”