But he made a very good point with it. There's this false notion floating around this thread that being the registered copyright owner of a song may make you impervious to losing a lawsuit. So what would stop a shyster musician from registering copyrights on unregistered songs owned by other musicians? The answer is that proving ownership of a song goes way beyond whether or not you registered a copyright. The registration gives weight and is required to file a lawsuit, but it doesn't replace burden of proof for either side in a legitimately contested case.I suspect you know as well as I do the silliness of that reply,
I think you missed his point. All of the cases required copyright registration for the plaintiff to file the lawsuit, but the question is in which of these cases did a copyright registration supersede burden of proof?
If someone falsely registered one of my original songs with the Copyright Office, they'd be in for an expensive loss in court, because I'd have enough evidence of ownership to blow their false copyright registration clear out of the water.
These are my thoughts on copyright registration [and it's important to note here that I am a musician, not a lawyer.]
A copyright registration cannot prove who wrote a song, but it provides clear evidence of when ownership of a song was claimed, and by whom. Unless a copyright registration can be proven erroneous, it usually stands as fact. If someone stole one of your unreleased songs and claimed they wrote it, but your registered copyright for that song is twenty years old and predates any material evidence they can provide in regard to their association with the song, it's probably going to be an open and shut case.
If you make a living as a songwriter, or if you're simply an enviable songwriter who has a lot of unreleased songs in the vault to which other musician may be privy, registering the copyrights is a good idea because evidence of your ownership of those songs will predate anyone else's copyright claims. You'll want it in case you are sued, and you'll need it to sue.
But for the millions of independent artists out there like me who write and self-release songs which are well-documented and registered with PROs, digital distributors, and other services, no one is going to steal your songs, register the copyrights to them, and be able to fabricate enough material to prove you didn't write them. Their copyright registration wouldn't hold water.
For indie artists, most copyright disputes that arise – if any at all – are going to be inconsequential and handled through online complaint forms. Registering with the Copyright Office is great if you have the time and extra money, but for most, it would be a waste of money.