The copyright law provides a relatively straight forward and inexpensive means of
deterring others from profiting from the author's work without first obtaining the author
or his assignee's permission. In sum, four basic points can be made about copyright
First, most original works of art qualify for copyright protection. Second,
copyright protection is automatic from the moment the work is fixed in a tangible form.
Third, providing copyright notice on the work eliminates any defense of innocent
infringement which an infringer might otherwise have had, thus increasing the amount of
monetary compensation the owner may obtain from the infringer, either in settlement or by
court action. Lastly, registration of the copyrighted work is not necessary, but it is
advantageous. In most cases, registration is a prerequisite to filing suit for copyright
An appendix is provided immediately following this text. Appendix A
asks and answers some of the most commonly asked question about copyright law. Probably
the most important point to remember is that although copyright protection is automatic,
full benefit of the rights and remedies provided under the copyright laws are available
only to those who place the proper notice of copyright on their work and to those who
register their copyright within three months after first publication.