There are times when a content creator or artist may fear that their work could be stolen or infringed upon before it’s officially finished and released to the public. This often happens in the music industry, in film with movie releases, and in literary works that are part of a popular genre or focused on a hot topic.
In some cases, the Copyright Office allows artists and content creators to “pre-register” their work so that they would be able to sue for copyright infringement if their work is stolen before it’s developed and officially completed.
Pre-registration is not a substitute for copyright registration. Any work that is pre-registered will still need to be formally registered with the Copyright office once the work is published or released to the public. But, it provides some interim protection for content creators who meet the following criteria:
- The work in question is still unpublished;
- The work is in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution either in physical or digital format; and
- The work falls into one of the following categories:
- Motion Pictures
- Sound Recordings
- Musical Compositions
- Literary Works
- Computer Programs
- Advertising or Marketing Photographs
The pre-registration process can be completed online using the Electronic Copyright Office system (eCO). You will be asked to submit a description of your work in 2000 characters or less and pay a filing fee. If your request for pre-registration is granted, you will then need to register your copyright within three months of publication or a month after you learned someone has infringed upon your copyright.
Artists and content creators should be rightfully concerned about their work being “leaked” or stolen before they have a chance to finish it. Pre-registering the work can offer legal protection and peace of mind so that the artist can finish their project without fear of content theft.
If you need assistance pre-registering a work or filing for a copyright of your work, our intellectual property attorneys can help. To schedule a consultation, simply call our office at 888-666-0062.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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