The Benefits of Registration

Copyright arises automatically with the creation of the work. However, proving one’s copyright is another issue entirely. In the case of either formal legal disputes or private platform disputes (ones administered by content platforms, such as YouTube), the responsibility lies with the author to prove that the work is theirs, and that it is original.

Anybody who creates a copyrightable work (such as a book, a photograph, or a painting) is an author. In the case of a dispute, there are two key elements an author must prove:

  • The author must prove that the work they are claiming to be theirs is, in fact, theirs. This is most easily proven by the author having proof of possession of the work in question earlier than the disputing party.
  • The author must also demonstrate that it was their creativity which brought the work into existence; they must prove that it is original. This is most easily done by providing evidence that their work existed before a disputing party can prove that their work existed. Failing that, a design process can also prove originality.

This is a very short summary. There are other things the author may need to prove. However, these two elements are the foundation to any copyright claim or defence.

As you may have noticed, questions of time are crucial in any copyright dispute. An author must be able to prove authorship and originality in a robust manner. Relying on the work existing earlier than a disputing party’s is the easiest and most reliable way to accomplish these things.

Many authors do not think ahead to when they may encounter a copyright dispute. When a dispute against them later arises, they are caught flat-footed, and struggle to prove when their work was created. Many of these authors are then unable to prove their original authorship to a Court or private platform, and as such, are either unable to enforce their copyright, or worse, are forced to take down their work. In the worst situations, an author may even have to pay damages to a disputing party despite having legitimately created an original work themselves; all because they were unable to prove when and how their work was created!

The Solution
Some jurisdictions (such as the USA) offer official copyright registration to aid authors in this. However, most jurisdictions do not, including the UK. As such, it is left to authors to evidence that their work is original. That’s where we come in.

Historically, one of the ways in which an author would evidence their original authorship was by making a copy of their work and posting it to themselves. The date on the postmark would serve as evidence of the work existing before that date. The envelope would then be kept by the author in a secure place until it was needed.

However, this is not a good method in the modern world. Firstly, envelopes can be resealed, and postmarks can be faked. This is far more easily done today than a hundred years ago. As such, the authenticity of the date and work inside can be brought into question. Secondly, with the rise of online copyright dispute management, it is far harder to use the sealed work as evidence in the first place, given that evidence is submitted in digital form. There is no way to send an envelope through the internet! Finally, a sealed envelope can only be used once, even if it accepted as sufficient evidence. A digital certificate, on the other hand, can be used repeatedly.

It is more important than ever for authors to be able to effectively prove their original authorship. The chances of an author encountering a copyright dispute were historically quite low. Legal action was rare, and no private dispute mechanisms existed whatsoever. Today, however, is another matter entirely. Legal action for copyright infringement has increased rapidly in recent years, and is becoming more and more accessible. This means both more scope for an author being able to assert their rights, but also more scope for an author having to defend their rights. The same applies to private dispute mechanisms, where thousands upon thousands of authors either need to defend their rights or try to enforce them every day.

Our service is a postmarked envelope fit for the modern world. We take a copy of your work, and store it securely on our servers. Your work is timestamped at the point of upload in a way which cannot be edited by anybody (including by our staff). You will then receive a certificate for easy verification or use in minor disputes. In the case of a legal dispute, you would be able to request a document detailing the specifics of our service and of your registration with us for use as evidence to assist your claim of original authorship.

Take the first step towards protecting your copyright by clicking here.

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