Today in Copyright History: 4/27

Ten years ago today, on April 27, 2005, the Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act allowed for preregistration of certain works being prepared for commercial distribution.  As the U.S. Copyright Office explains, “[p]reregistration is a service intended for works that have had a history of prerelease infringement.  It focuses on the infringement of movies, recorded music, and other copyrighted materials before copyright owners have had the opportunity to market fully their products.”  However, “[p]reregistration is not a substitute for registration.  Its purpose is to allow an infringement action to be brought before the authorized commercial distribution of a work and full registration thereof, and to make it possible, upon full registration, for the copyright owner to receive statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in an infringement action.”  In order to take advantage of the benefits of preregistration, a copyright owner must formally register the work within one month after the copyright owner becomes aware of infringement, and no later than three months after first publication of the work.  Reposted from the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.