72 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc'y 1006 (1990)
Beat the Clock: The Effect of Section 412 of the Copyright Act on Post-Infringement Registration

handle is hein.journals/jpatos72 and id is 1032 raw text is: BEAT THE CLOCK: The Effect of
Section 412 of the Copyright Act on
Post-Infringement Registration*
Stephen J. Strauss**
I. INTRODUCIION
M ost practitioners of intellectual property law would agree that
I    applying for copyright registrations is not difficult. What could
be simpler: merely complete a pre-printed form and send it to the
United States Copyright Office together with the appropriate deposit
of the work to be registered and a check in the amount of ten dollars
to cover the processing fee. Within three months, and usually with
little or no further communication from the Copyright Office, a Cer-
tificate of Copyright Registration will be returned.
Given the relative simplicity of this application process, it seems
surprising that many copyright registrations are sought only after
infringement of the work has occurred. This is a major mistake, and
should not be encouraged. As will be discussed, the Copyright Act
of 1976 penalizes holders of post-infringement registrations in the
recovery of statutory damages and attorney's fees in court.
II. THE POST-INFRINGEMENT REGISTRATION DILEMMA UNDER
SECTION 412
The Copyright Act of 1976 is replete with powerful incentives
to encourage the registration of both published and unpublished works.
Registration is a prerequisite for maintaining an action for copyright
infringement.' Additionally, registration constitutes prima facie evi-
dence of the validity of the copyright as well as the facts stated in
the registration certificate.2 However, the single most important in-
centive to register (certainly the one with the most impact on a co-
*Copyright 1990 Stephen J. Strauss, Esq.
**Fulwider, Patton, Lee & Utecht Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego
1. 17 U.S.C.  411.
2. 17 U.S.C. 410(c). See Apple Computer, Inc. v. Formula Inteniational, Inc., 725 F. 2d 521
(91h Cir. 1984).
1006

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