In the United States, most well-informed content creators deposit their works with the U.S. Copyright Office within three (3) months of publication. Under the Copyright Statute, works federally registered within three months of publication or before actual infringements are able to recover (in addition to lost profits and an injunction):
- Court costs;
- Attorney fees; and
- Statutory damages up to $150,000 per violation.
This is one reason for the enormous awards handed down in computer file-sharing cases. Each song or movie illegally copyrighted incurs up to a $150,000 liability per violation. Federal copyright registration is also a prerequisite to bringing a copyright claim which must be brought in federal court. Having a timely-registered copyright deposit give the copyright holder enormous leverage in a copyright dispute.
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