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Copyright Timing

Copyright rights attach as soon as a work is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression", i.e., written down or recorded.  Because almost all works of authorship these days are written or recorded to have value, the timing of obtaining a copyright occurs naturally. 

Registration of the copyright, however, requires filing of the form and deposit copy and payment of the fee.  Because registration prior to infringement carries significant benefits, we recommend that significant works (i.e., works that are likely to be copied) be registered within three months of first publication.  Registration is a pre-requisite for bringing an enforcement suit, and the copyright in less significant works need not be registered until after copying is identified. 

Copyright notice (e.g., Shewchuk IP Services 2004) should be placed on all works which are printed or published, regardless of whether the copyright is registered.


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