Posted by Patrick Henry on September 19, 1998 at 18:37:19:
In Reply to: Re: "common law copyright"? posted by KatNip on September 19, 1998 at 01:16:16:
Yes, a "common-law copyright" serves to protect an author's rights in an unpublished work. However, once published, the copyright laws of the United States of America (as codified in Title 17, USC) appear to govern. Even a brief reading of Title 17 will reveal the fact that copyright protection IS NOT LOST merely because of failure to register the copyright with the proper governmental office. Notice the phrase "register the copyright." Obviously, one DOES NOT APPLY to the government FOR a copyright. The copyright exists as a matter of COMMON RIGHT. The registrations provisions of the statute provide for the FORMAL PROTECTION BY STATUTE of the pre-existing copyright rights of the author, as well as increasing the types of recovery available upon infringement.
As you reade Title 17, you will notice that recovery for infringement is also NOT barred by reason of lack of registration. Only certain FORMS of recovery (such as attorney's fees) are relinquished if the registration was not accomplished and/or attempted.
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