Registration is required only to pursue statutory damages?
May 22, 2012 05:24:55am
Re: Purple People Eater (1988) - PD?
Yes. According to US Copyright Office Circular 1
, "only an
award of actual damages and profits is available to the
copyright owner" unless "registration is made within three months after publication
of the work or prior to an infringement of the work".So that would mean if a US DVD distributor started selling this title and was taken to court by the copyright claimant they would have not a case because there was no registration in the USCO right?
Except that the copyright claimant can file an initial registration at any time
during the copyright term of the work, meaning until 2083 in the case of The Purple People Eater
. If the copyright claimant became aware their work is distributed without proper authorization, they would certainly file an initial registration first (without warning the distributor) and then take the distributor to court. The situation is a ticking time bomb because the distributor can find himself liable for statutory damages from one day to the next without any advance warning from the copyright holder (unless the copyright holder feels generous enough and announces their intent to register in advance, but such niceties coming from someone who feels their rights are being violated may be unlikely).
Moreover, there is an additional wrinkle because the screenplay is registered:
Type of Work: Dramatic Work and Music; or Choreography
Registration Number / Date: PAu001109619 / 1988-06-14
Title: The Purple people eater.
Description: 111 p.
Based on the song by Sheb Wooley.
Copyright Claimant: Motion Picture Corporation of America
Date of Creation: 1988
Authorship on Application: Linda Shayne & Jim Wynorski.
Previous Registration: Prev. reg. 1958, EU516733.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: "full screenplay."
Names: Wooley, Sheb
Shayne, Linda, 1956-
Wynorski, Jim, 1950-
Motion Picture Corporation of America
As the film is a derivative work from the screenplay, unauthorized distribution of the film also amounts to an unauthorized distribution of the screenplay, immediately punishable by statutory damages payable to the screenplay copyright holders (which include Motion Picture Corporation of America, the company that produced the film).
This post was modified by larus on 2012-05-22 12:24:55