© questions? … © answers!


Can’t I just mail it to myself?

Can’t I use the “poor man’s copyright” and just mail it to myself?

Obtaining copyright protection by mailing your work to yourself and not opening the envelope is an urban myth. Although you may have a postmark showing the date of mailing, it is not a substitute for registration. It’s a waste of time and money because it has no legal benefits for infringement lawsuits. It will still be necessary to file for registration of your claim in the Copyright Office before a lawsuit. The postmarked envelope is not a public record or solid proof in court.
Why do you think they call it the “poor man’s copyright”? - - MJD

Why register my copyright?

Why should I register my copyright if protection is automatic?

There are several excellent reasons to register your claim to copyright.

  • Registrations are public records identifying the Copyright Claimant;
  • Registration is necessary before an infringement suit can be filed in court;
  • Registration is evidence in court of your claim to ownership;
  • If registration is made within three (3) months after publication or before an infringement, you may ask for additional damages and attorney’s fees;
  • Registration is necessary to obtain certain compulsory royalties; and
  • Registration protects against the importation of infringing copies of your work.