Q: Do I need to copyright an autobiography?
Once you "fix" a work, meaning making it perceivable by others, the rights of copyright immediately attach. So that part is covered. But in order to ease enforcement of those rights, it is wise to register the copyright with the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office's website (www.copyright.gov) has much useful information if you wish to file on your own. Check out Circulars 1 and 2 for starters.
There are several reasons why registration can ease enforce against copyright infringement. Two reasons are: 1) In order to file an infringement case, you must file in federal court and registration gives the court jurisdiction to hear the case. 2) You may be able to claim statutory damages and attorney's fees, neither of which are available if you file for the registration AFTER the infringement occurred.
The registration application may look very simple to complete, but their are some issues to consider that may not be apparent without further inquiry. If this will be your first go at registering a work with the Copyright Office, you may want to work with a copyright attorney to smooth the bumps.
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