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The importance of filing early with the US Copyright Office

Colorado residents interested in copyright law may like to learn more about how a recent US Supreme Court ruling impacts copyright registration. In March 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled that copyright owners need to have their work registered with the United States Copyright Office before they are able to file litigation to enforce their rights. This decision by the United States Supreme Court gives added emphasis to the importance of early filing of copyright applications.

When it comes to copyrights, people usually think about it in connection to music, movies, art or photographs. However, copyright laws are designed to protect much more, including computer software, presentations and other forms of expression.

The decision made by the US Supreme Court provided guidance on an issue that had split courts throughout the country. In essence, the ruling simply states that filing a copyright application is not enough to permit the copyright owner to file suit. Instead, the application needs to be approved by the US Copyright Office prior to filing a suit.

Normal approval of a copyright application is a time-consuming process that could take between seven months to a year. There are ways to expedite the procedure, but it is expensive and may still take a lot of time. It's important for copyright owners to file their applications with the US Copyright Office as soon as they possibly can. This way, if there is an early copyright infringement, they will be within their rights to file suit.

A copyright lawyer whose focus is infringement may be able to help clients protect their intellectual property and unique materials from being used by or profited from by others. Some attorneys focus on assisting their clients during the application process, and there are others who focus on representing their clients when infringement issues arise.

Source: The National Law Review, "Supreme Court Decision Impacts Copyright Registration ," March 6, 2019

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