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It is a common misconception to confuse copyright registration with the granting of copyright. Copyright in most countries today is automatic on fixation i.e. it applies as soon as the work is fixed in some tangible medium. This automatic protection was granted by the Berne Convention.
The purpose of copyright registration is to place on record a verifiable account of the date and content of the work in question, so that in the event of a legal claim, or case of infringement or plagiarism, the copyright owner can produce a copy of the work from an official government source.
In Canada, copyrighted works can be registered at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for a fee.
In the United Kingdom, there is no official registration regime for copyrights. Commercial services provide a registration facility where copies of work can be lodged to establish legal evidence of a copyright claim. There are also requirements to file certain published works with the British Library and, on request, the five legal deposit libraries.
In the United States, the United States Copyright Office accepts registrations. For works created in the US by US citizens, a registration is also required before an infringement suit may be filed in a US court. Furthermore, copyright holders cannot claim statutory damages or attorney's fees unless the work was registered prior to infringement, or within three months of publication.
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