Could one of you tell me what magic set of words will get you to register your copyrights in your creative work (photos, illustrations, etc.)? Or do I need to do back-flips? Juggle? Tell me, and if I can do it, I will.
See, I’ve had to tell more than a couple of artists lately that although their work had likely been infringed, it wouldn’t be worth pursuing because they really wouldn’t get much for it because it wasn’t registered before the infringement took place. Sigh. That sucks.
Remember, if you register your copyright before an infringement, you may elect to receive statutory damages instead of actual damages in court. Oh, and you might collect attorneys’ fees too.
But no timely registration means, at best, you’ll get actual damages and you will have to prove those in court. You can’t just say “I would license this for $5000″ and get it; no, you’d have to prove that would be a reasonable license fee for that use. That can get costly to prove and, well, poof, by the time you’re done with court your legal fees and expenses will be more than that $5K.
Think of this example: a major company uses your photo on its Facebook page. How much would you expect to get as a license fee for that? Now how much could you collect if you could get statutory damages and attorneys’ fees?
Which position would you like to be in to negotiate a settlement?
I can tell you which position an attorney would prefer.
Register. It’s the best “insurance” you can buy.