You don’t have to register for a copyright because you acquired common law rights as soon as you made it. There’s a big caveat though – your protection is limited by not registering.
When a work contains a valid copyright notice, an infringer cannot claim in court that s/he wasn’t aware the work was copyrighted. Thus, an author has a greater chance to win a copyright infringement case and spend much less litigating in the process if s/he has a copyright notice.
In terms of damages, if registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner. If not, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
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