Q: Would it be seriously problematic if I self-published my original work before I receive my certificate of registration?
The US Copyright Office has already received my original literary work. I am wondering if I can go ahead and publish or if I need to wait to receive my certificate of registration.
A: The date of confirmation of registration is the operative measure. The certificate is just documentary evidence for you to have at your disposal. So, as long as you have a registration number, you're protected.
I'm not sure I agree with Mr. Brooks' answer. The origin of the copyright RIGHT occurs at the moment of creation. Once you are done writing your book, you had a copyright. A registration is public notice of that right. Now, enforcing a copyright is a different matter. A certificate of registration is needed before you sue anyone for infringement.
To answer your question more directly: You've been protected since you finished the work. You can go ahead and publish/distribute/sell before you get the certificate, and such activities will not affect your copyright.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.