November 28th, 2005, 06:55 AM
Just some talk about our Copyright system...
Registering your copyright with the US Copyright Office allows you to college statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work of yours that is infringed and also lets you collect money from the infringer to cover your attorney's costs. Basically if you're registered, and someone infringes on your work, it will cost you NOTHING to bring them to court since the infringer pays your attorney fees. And you can get a good deal of money out of it from the fines.
If you don't register your copyright, you'll likely only be able to collect the monetary loss from their use (ie, if you would have charged $200 to license it for their use, you get paid $200) BUT you must also pay your own attorney's fees. It could end up costing you money, and generally isn't worth it...which is why you're encouraged to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office.
So when you find out an infringement happens you register your work and THREATEN legal action and settle out of court for say 5x-8x how much you would have charged or however much you want...the infringers generally don't want to pay your attorney's costs (and their own attorney's costs) and risk fines of $30,000, so you generally have some leverage over the licensing terms/price...so register your works...