As copyright is an automatic right proving your claim may be a very difficult matter without proper evidence to back you up. All too often it boils down to a case of ‘their word against yours’. Without proper protection, something you have created could end up making money for someone else.
If your work is later passed off as the work of someone else, how do you prove that it was yours to start with?
- Your friends and family may vouch for you, but their opinion is by nature biased, and the person who copied your work could easily get their friends and family to vouch for them too.
- Posting a copy to yourself is a very poor option (though we are amazed how often this urban myth is quoted as a
‘way to prove copyright’): As the copy you post remains in your possession, the other party can easily show that you had ample opportunity to tamper with the contents, and of course once opened it could not be used as evidence in any future claim or appeal.
Many Internet service providers (ISPs), online marketplace sites like eBay and social media sites are now asking for evidence of registration before taking down infringing content.
ISPs, marketplace and social media sites frequently receive ’take down‘ requests for content they host, but as many of these are false or malicious claims service providers often have a difficult task in determining who to believe and before they remove copied content many now ask for registration evidence to back up a claim.
How registration helps
- Independent proof of your work
A registration submission creates an independently verifiable record of the content of your work as it existed at that point in time.
Our strict policies ensure that you have no way to change the content of your registration, so courts, tribunals and other decision makers know that that the evidence we supply is an accurate record of the content of your work as it was at the time of registration.
- Deters infringement and reduces disputes
One of the advantages of registration is that when the defendant realises the weight of evidence is against them they will normally seek to come to an amicable arrangement and avoid legal costs. In many cases, simply stating that a work is registered with Copyright Witness may be enough to make a would be infringer think again in the first place.
- Faster resolution of disputes
Having independent evidence of your claim can greatly speed up decisions that would otherwise tend to be ‘their word against yours’. As mentioned above, many ISPs are now asking for registration evidence before removing infringing content.
- International protection
We are happy to supply evidence to support any case regardless of where in the world that may be.
- Evidence available time after time
Whenever you need proof of the content of your work, the evidence we supply is a verified copy of the original work deposited with us. This means you can ask us to provide evidence time after time without it losing validity.
- Secure, managed back-ups
Registrations are backed-up electronically, and stored in geographically separate locations. This means your work is protected against data corruption, fire, or similar problem. All back-ups are also encrypted, to ensure strict confidentiality and security.
For more details on how we ensure your work is looked after, please see our service standards page.
If your work is infringed...
If an infringement is made on your work, your entry in the Copyright Witness registry will provide strong evidence of your copyright ownership from the date of registration.
At your request, we can produce copies of the work registered, stating the registration date. This can be used as evidence in your case and help to verify your claim.
When to register
Generally speaking, the sooner the better. As the service provides evidence of your work from the date of registration, we always recommend that your work is registered before it is available for others to view.
Don’t worry if your work is still under development, as updates can easily be made using the registration update facility.