The Internet is a wonderful tool that has truly revolutionized the way people make purchases and share ideas over the last twenty years. However, the Internet has also made it easier for some people to steal intellectual property. Fixed, creative expressions, such as movies, songs, paintings, and photographs, are subject to copyright protection. In fact, the creator of these works owns a copyright to the work even without registering the work with the United States Copyright Office. These copyright protected works are often posted and shared on the Internet. In many cases, the copyright owner, for one reason or another, is not concerned with others using the work. However, often the copyright owner would like to prevent others from freely copying the work. While there are different technologies that may be employed to prevent the theft of digital files, there are also legal strategies that may help the copyright owner in the event that the work is pirated.
Timely registration of a copyrighted work may provide the copyright owner with statutory damages in the event that the work is ever copied without authorization. These statutory damages may be significantly more than could be recovered in the absence of registration.