Copyright is created in a "work" the moment it becomes "fixed" by the author.  In other words, from the moment you lift your pen off the paper (or finish typing your creation, put down your paint brush, etc.), copyright protection exists in your work.  Nothing more need be done.

However, you should put a notice on the work to advise the world that the work is copyrighted and the copyright is owned by you.  This notice should consist of the following:  " Copyright [Your Name] 2000"

You can register your work with the Copyright Office for a nominal fee but this is not necessary to enjoy copyright protection.  (Trademarks and patents are different worlds - see the discussion of registration and its effect in the trademark and patent sections of this web site.)  However, registration with the Copyright Office gives you significant advantages if someone infringes your copyright., including statutory damages (set by law so you don't have to prove how you've been damaged) and attorney's fees.  But there are time limits.  If you let them go by, you may be losing out on valuable rights.

Law Offices of Douglas Clark Hollmann

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Copyright - All Rights Reserved - Douglas Clark Hollmann - 2000

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