Anyone in Texas worried about protecting their works from infringement should be aware that the sooner they register their copyrighted works, the more protected they'll be. That being said, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling recently that highlighted the importance of early registration: Simply put, a copyright owner cannot file litigation and protect their rights unless their work is already registered by the United States Copyright Office.
Understanding copyright law is important for business owners as these rights protect any original work an individual can produce, including music, paintings, movies, presentations, articles, and software. In other words, most, if not all, forms of expression can be protected under copyright law. However, before the US Supreme Court's ruling, the courts were divided on a particular point: Is it enough for an individual to file a copyright application in order to be allowed to file suit, or must this application be approved first before any legal actions can be taken to protect the work in question? With the Supreme Court's Ruling, this matter has been decided: The application has to be approved first by the United States Copyright Office.
As a result, copyright owners would do well to make sure that their applications are approved as soon as possible, something that can take more than half a year all the way to a full year. Otherwise, copyright owners won't be able to collect damages due to another entity infringing on their copyrights. As a matter of fact, not only do copyright laws allow the aggrieved to collect a sum of $150,000 for every infringed work, they also reward the prevailing party with the attorney fees.
Yet, these damages are awarded on the condition that the copyright application was filed within 90 days of the first time the work was published or before the work has been infringed upon. However, if a work is infringed upon while its application has not been sent in yet, these damages are no longer on the table. Consequently, people trying to protect their work might benefit from reaching out to an experienced business litigation attorney who can help them file an application as quickly as possible.