Since it has become clear that copyrights on original and creative Works exist from the moment of their creation, as settled by the Berne Convention (article 5), Registers’ useness has been focused on a mere inscription where authors and rightholders declare their Rights. The goal is, therefore, to make a written record of a declaration of Rights before third parties, although, as mentioned before, this registration will not have formal effects (it does not generate nor recognise any right, it does only work as a recipient of the said declaration); in plain English, the main purpose of a Register is to be able to prove that one work was created before other, so as to give this work the originality upon which the law protects that work.
Inscriptions made in public Registers of Intellectual Property prove that at some point, someone registered a work in some place and declared the ownership of the Rights related to that work, which gives this registration an “iuris tantum” legal effectiveness, as it may be countered by an opposite proof (a third person could prove somehow his work was created sometime earlier). This is applicable for all kind of Copyright Registers, which is one of the elements that distinguishes Intellectual Property from Industrial Property (patents, trademarks, designs…), where the inscription in the relevant Register after having satisfied the administrative procedure is actually what makes the rights exist. However, it’s very important to read the following links regards the specificities of US Law regards their citizens when suing and statutory damages and attorney’s fees: Why should I register in the US Copyright Office and the US Copyright Registration.
The assessment/value of the inscriptions in a judicial procedure
Everything that has been said before does not diminish the importance and value of the Copyright Registers. If, at some point, someone pretends to refute the authorship and those Rights related to that condition, or in case we are facing a plagiarism or any unauthorized use of a work, the inscription shall be very useful during a judicial procedure, as it can be used as a valid proof. In such cases, joining that declaration from the register to the demand itself would be enough to prove the Rights and the authorship.
This representation made by public registers, will be taken as a public document before any kind of jurisdiction (criminal, civil or administrative), giving the declaration complete evidential effects.
In the U.S., the Federal Rules of Evidence establish how the facts have to be proven by the parties in the federal courts and in some state courts. Under these rules, all relevant evidences are admissible by the court, defining “relevant evidence” as all evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence (Rule 401).
In the U.S. legal system, authentication of these private documents is a key issue, establishing Rule 901 that this requirement is satisfied when the evidence is able to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims. Some Safe Creative’s users are quite concerned about the validity of SC’s Registry in their jurisdiction, giving the fact that SC is a company legally established in Spain (Europe). The Federal Rules of Evidence, and in general almost all jurisdictions, admits or declare valid those documents that are proven sufficient to demonstrate the existence of a fact.
Safe Creative’s Copyright Registry
In this regard, Safe Creative is a private Register of digital contents where users can register their Works, establishing a proof of their authorship and copyrights. In accordance with the service’s terms and conditions, the user agrees to deposit her works and Safe Creative agrees to watch over the contents and informations according to the established conditions, publishing and allowing access to that information to any third person, but not being able to make any exploitation of such in prejudice of user’s rights and interests. In practical terms, Safe Creative becomes a third person who, through computing procedures, stores the content provided by users, allowing to register the mentioned information and the time they were stated.
The goal of this system is, just as in public copyright registers or in a escrow agreement made by a notary public, to have a valid evidence in order to prove a plagiarism or an unlawful use of a work. Safe Creative’s systems are based on strong technologies that encrypt contents uploaded by its users, adding some timestamps capable of proving the date of the registration, which form a solid structure that can be used in a court to prove the existence of a work before other of a potential infringer.
In addition, this service has the advantage that it is free, accessible through the Internet, global and neutral, and it allows to establish and record the right policy or licence of use defined previously by the user. Having this done, and for instance in the case of Copyleft licences, Safe Creative will incorporate the user’s declaration of will regarding the permitted uses of the work, which constitutes a guaranty before third’s use of the content according to those conditions.
Safe Creative can issue digital certificates based on the register’s data, regarding the date of the inscription, the author or authors and exploitation rightsholders, as much as regarding it’s content and pre-established use policy. Those certificates are double-signed digitally by the issuer, that is, Safe Creative.
In conclusion, authors who register their work in Safe Creative’s Registry have a valid way to prove that some content was created in a certain date, having a certificate issued by a company that has implemented in its systems technologies that are able to prove such statement.