helleborine - 6:10 pm on Sep 10, 2012 (gmt 0)
If I understand correctly you can register even if you're not a US resident. I forgot how much - $35? $50? and you can register a whole block of work, say, pictures you've taken from the last two years, in one application.
It takes about 9-10 months to have confirmation, but you are protected legally from the time of your application.
Check with your attorney! I'm parroting mine, but I may be parroting wrong.
If your work is registered, the infringer would be very ill-advised to go to court, and you may not have to show up in person if you have legal representation. They'll have to pay your lawyers. So they're pretty much stuck in a corner the moment they get the C&D letter, and have to settle with you. Settling is the economical option for them.