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How do I prove that I own a copyright?

Los Angeles, CA |

I wish to protect my identity and register my copyright under a pseudonym. In a legal dispute, what do I need to prove I'm the real owner of the copyright?

So, what does an entity have to do to show that it is the true owner of a copyright, as described by Mr. Ballard?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You need to prove publication of the work and that you filed the registration. If sent from your computer, or you have the original copies you mailed in, that should suffice.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

  2. I agree with Attorney Doland. Keep in mind that in a lawsuit you will ultimately not be able to protect your identity.

    I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice and I disclaim any liability for the results if you do.

  3. My colleagues are correct. I have received this question before and I generally have the same question that: what is the point of keeping your identity secret if you will eventually have to reveal yourself in litigation?

    The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  4. I disagree with my colleagues. This is going to sound real picky but here goes: To enforce the copyright in court the Questioner does not have to prove either publication of the work or that he, personally, filed the registration.

    What must be established is that the defendant had "access" to the allegedly infringed material and that the person [or company] that claims to own its copyright does, in fact, own the copyright.

    Many suits are filed to enforce unpublished works [e.g., "MGM used the script that I sent them to make Batman"].

    As for ownership, there is no requirement during litigation to disclose the name of the living, breathing author -- in fact, in work for hire situations, the hiring company IS the author of the work.

    I agree that during discovery during the lawsuit the name of the living, breathing author must be disclosed. But if the copyright owner is a company, I can easily envision that fact being buried as irrelevant.

    The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.