If You Don’t Register the Copyright

The implications of not registering a copyright can be very costly and time-consuming.

If you don’t register your copyright, you cannot legally prevent someone from copying or using your original creative work.

Delaying copyright registration can result in a severe limit in the amount of damages that may be awarded should there be a finding of copyright infringement.


If you don’t register and later find out that someone else has copied your work:

  • The law states that remedies for infringement require timely registration.
  • You will not be able to collect statutory damages against the infringing party (up to $150,000).
  • You will have to pay your own legal bills and not be able to collect attorney’s fees.
  • If an infringer learns that your work is not registered, they may continue to use your original work knowing that you will be unable to collect attorney’s fees or monetary damages.
  • Attorneys would be unlikely to take your case on a contingency basis.
  • The infringing party would have very little “motivation” to stop using your material.
  • The infringing material may continue to be distributed or displayed.
Next > Who Can Register?