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Copyright Registration Systems

Copyright protection is obtained automatically upon creation of a work, without the need for registering or complying with any other formality. The fundamental principle of formality-free protection is reflected in Art 5(2) of the Berne Convention and in many other international treaties in the field of copyright and related rights.  

While respecting the principle of formality-free protection, voluntary registration systems are an integral part of many national copyright systems.  Currently national registration and recordation systems are very diverse in terms of functioning and legal effects. 

Practice shows that a well-established institutional infrastructure, the filing methods available (online filing in addition to physical filing), a good balance between procedural requirements (fees and formalities) and the perceived benefits of a registration as well as statutory incentives (copyright registration creating a rebuttable presumption and/or serve as prima facie evidence) play an important role in increasing the attractiveness and efficiency of the systems.

Following earlier surveys in 2005 and 2010, a third “Survey on Voluntary Copyright Registration Systems” was conducted under the auspices of WIPO in 2020.  The new survey does not only look at voluntary copyright registration but also covers recordation and legal deposit systems.  Based on responses from 109 WIPO Member States, the survey summarizes information on existing regulations on all continents.  It highlights the policy rationale behind the systems as well as the main benefits and challenges while identifying possible areas of improvement and development.  The report of the “Survey on Voluntary Copyright Registration Systems” and further information are available PDF, WIPO Survey on Voluntary Copyright Registration Systems: main findings (2020).