How is copyright ownership proved in court?

UPDATED: Mar 23, 2012

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How is copyright ownership proved in court?

Supposedly a work is copyrighted from the time I write it down on paper – correct? So, say I write a song that is dated as of 3 years ago. What is to keep someone from copying my song and dating their copy a few years earlier? Proving copyright infringement just seems like a very vague subject to me and I’m confused how the fact that I have a piece of paper with my name and a date on it could be substantial evidence to prove copyright ownership in a copyright infringement case.

Asked on March 23, 2012 under Business Law, Indiana


Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are correct that a copyright exists upon fixation, meaning when you wrote down the song or recorded the song you own the copyright. Proving it in court is a rather difficult thing. It may involve expert testimony, witness testimony, etc. Meanwhile, have you considered registering? Write it out and send to Copyright Office and obtain your certificate. That is your ultimate proof of your copyright. You can also register online.

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