Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
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It's not true that they "own" it, but you might still have problems proving that you were the author, and even if you did (without registering your copyright with the US Copyright Office) you would have limited recourse in the courts. You don't actually "copyright" something, because by US law you automatically have a copyright for your creations. For someone else to own it, you have to transfer the copyright to them. But again, if you don't register your copyright, that other party might claim it as their own anyway, and you'd still have to prove that you were the author and never transferred your copyright to them. Another issue is that without registration, you can only seek an "injunction" against them using the work. You can't seek damages, attorneys fees, costs, etc... So registration is still a very good idea.
Here's the process in a nutshell:
Complete an applicationInclude the correct feeInclude nonreturnable copies (usually, one for unpublished and two for published)
Library of CongressCopyright Office***** SE.Washington, D.C.###-##-####/p>
You can find more detail through this file from the Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/sl35.pdf
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