It is no secret that virtual goods are one of the biggest drivers of virtual world revenue for virtual world operators and virtual goods creators. As a result, it is important to have a solid legal strategy to protect the value of virtual goods. A comprehensive legal strategy will include many components. Copyright registration is an important part of an overall intellectual property protection strategy for preventing infringement of virtual goods, along with patents, trademarks, trade secrets and terms of service agreements.
The benefits of timely copyright registration for virtual goods include the ability to file suit in Federal District Court, collect statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, the potential for recovery of legal costs and attorney’s fees and certain legal presumptions regarding ownership and originality. To get some of these benefits however, you must timely file a copyright registration, typically before the infringement or misuse of your virtual goods occurs.
For more detailed information on the advantages of and requirements for timely copyright registration, please see the recent client alert on Virtual Goods and Copyrights by Pillsbury’s Virtual Worlds Team.