On many occasions we have been meeting with a new client who has a copyright infringment issue – someone is stealing their work – and they have not registered the copyright with the US government. Some have read about the “Poor Man’s Copyright” where you send a work to yourself through the U.S. Mail and leave it unopened. This is not enough!
“Poor Man’s Copyright” might be used to prove evidence of creation in court, but it doesn’t provide the full protection available under copyright law. If you haven’t registered you can’t get the damages and remedies available to you under the copyright statutes.
Straight from the www.copyright.gov website:
IÃ‚Â’ve heard about a Ã‚Â“poor manÃ‚Â’s copyright.Ã‚Â” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a Ã‚Â“poor manÃ‚Â’s copyright.Ã‚Â” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
PLEASE REGISTER YOUR WORK AT THE U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE.. You should always do this before releasing the work to the public and most certainly before beginning a copyright action against an infringer.
The current fee to register a work is only $45. For musicians, you can send in multiple songs on a single CD. Even a poor man can afford this!