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Federal Registration > Federal Registration - Pg. 144

A Primer on Intellectual Property 144 · The owner must first register the copyright in order to sue. · If the registration follows the original work's initial publication date by more than three months, the owner can only recover actual, provable damages (money) from the infringer. · Finally, and most important, you may only recover attorney's fees (which can pack a wal-lop in an infringement case) and statutory damages if your copyright was registered within three months of the work's initial publication. Statutory damages are automatically set money awards for infringement set out in the Copyright Act, currently $30,000 for every separate instance of ordinary infringement and $150,000 for every separate instance of willful infringement (more on this in the "Enforcing Copyrights" section). Software Registration You will need to file a copy of the work (and of each subsequent version or revision) with the Register, which will make it available to the public. For computer programs, there are two sets of rules. For programs that do not contain trade secrets: you must send in one copy of identifying portions of the program (first 25 and last 25 pages of source code), or the whole megillah if your program is shorter than 50 pages. For programs that contain trade secrets, you must send in a letter explaining your need to protect trade secret elements of the program, along with your choice of · First 25 and last 25 pages of source code with portions containing trade secrets blocked out · First 10 and last 10 pages of source code alone, with no blocked out portions · First 25 and last 25 pages of object code plus any 10 or more consecutive pages of source code, with no blocked out portions · For programs 50 pages or less in length, entire source code with trade secret portions blocked