Saturday, November 14, 2009

US Copyright Office - 23-Month Wait on Registration

I am someone who strongly encourages everyone to register their copyright. Doing so is your ticket to federal court when you are infringed, and provides for remedies like statutory damages and repayment of attorney's fees when you win. These added benefits make pursuing a copyright infringer far more likely to result in a positive outcome for you.

On December 21, 2007, I visited, in person, the US Copyright Office to deposit a copy of my images from a specific set of assignments that took place the month prior, in November of 2007 between the 5th and 27th of the month. Above, you will see a scan of the top of that certificate, which is one of hundreds I have going back to 1989. It is important to note that the effective date of registration, as noted there, is the date the US Copyright Office received the registration - December 21st, 2007.

Yesterday, November 14, 2009, 23 months later (695 days), I received the envelope with my formal certificate in it. Below is the return address and post-mark for the letter, dated two days prior:

I'd like to think that this would happen faster, however, in the end, I've been protected all along. If you'd like to see the online version of this same registration as displayed at the US Copyright Office, click here and enter "VA0001687427" (which is how you enter the VA number with a series of leading zeros and no dashes) as shown below:

If you've got your own registrations, check them out here as well - it's refreshing to see your listings, but they're not all online, so don't panic if you don't see it online.

Previously, we posted a walk-through of the entire process of a copyright registration - have a look at it here. To see our sample PDF that would help you process your own copyright registration, along with pointers/guidance, click here.

For those of you who are wondering if there is a limit to the number of images you can register, after the jump is more conversation on that.
(Continued, after the Jump)

You are not obligated to use the GRP/CON form when submitting your registration. Regulations give you that option, however, if you do, your registration will be limited to 750 images per registration. Below is one example of a registration I did for an entire year, for images produced between January 10, and December 31, 1999, for a total of 23,131 images on one registration. For 1997, for example I registered 15,915, and for 2000 I registered 28,999 images.

Now, go register your images, and protect yourself!

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