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Home > Creating Copyright > Managing Rights > Enforcement

Enforcement

Copyrights are enforced through:

  • Copyright registration
  • Controlling use

  • Licensing

  • Litigation

If you own the copyright in a work you may sue anyone who violates any of your exclusive rights for damages. Unfortunately, lawsuits are expensive and unless you are making a lot of money from your work, you may find the cost of litigation greatly exceeds the amount of damages you could recover.

Registration and Litigation
To preserve the right to sue infringers, you need to file a copyright registration on your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration can be filed any time up to three months after an infringement has occurred, however, you can recover greater damages in a lawsuit if you have registered your work prior to infringement.

Since lawsuits are not always practical, you should consider other means of ensuring your work is used by others in accordance with your wishes. The best method for enforcing your rights is through controlling how others may access your work or establishing ground rules for use in a license.

 

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