Intellectual Property Law
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As you noted correctly once you put pen to paper the work is automatically copyrighted
You can choose to register the work with the copyright office and it will give you the following benefits:
1) you could go to court and sue in the event your work is infringed upon
2) you could collect statutory treble damages from the time your work is registered
3) if you wish to sell it, registration will be give you conclusive proof of ownership
you can use the copyright symbol even without registration. Actually the use of the copyright symbol became optional in 1978. As noted all works these days are copyrighted whether you put the copyright notice or not. But it's always a good idea to include it.
In conclusion, you don't have to register to be protected by copyright law. Registration, however gives you the above noted benefits.
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