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orangetom

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Posts: 1
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Hi,
Hoping people on this forum can help me. I was wondering how copyright works online:  If I post something on my website, do I automatically have a copyright for it, or do I have to pay the US government in order to officially claim my rights?
Best wishes,
- Tom


stapel

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Posts: 140
Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangetom
If I post something on my website, do I automatically have a copyright for it, or do I have to pay the US government in order to officially claim my rights?

Yes, to both.

To clarify: As soon as you put something "in fixed form", such as a phograph, a book, or a web page, you, being the creator (barring contractual obligations to the contrary), own the copyright to the work. However, this legal ownership is not the same as practical protection.

If someone infringes on your work, you can sue, regardless of whether or not you have filed the copyright on your work. Let's assume you win your case against the infringer. If you have not registered your copyright, you would (if I recall correctly) be awarded "actual" damages, which can often be hard to prove, and may be judged to be minimal. On the other hand, if your copyright has been duly registered, you can waive actual damages and demand "only" the "statutory" damages, which are automatic and don't require any proof. Another benefit of statutory damages is that they often are much larger than what the actual damages would have been judged to be.

Eliz.

P.S. I'm not a lawyer. For advice specific to your situation / country / etc, hire a qualified legal counsellor in your area!
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