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raxen
09-11-2008, 05:00 PM
I'm fairly certain this has been asked before, I did try a search but I couldn't narrow it down enough to find the right thread.

If anyone could link me to a previous thread of just quickly answer my question I'd appreciate it.

I believe that in general whatever you write is copyrighted because you wrote it (not certain), I've also been told by a few people that when they copyright their work they post it to themselves and don't open the envelopes. The onyl way I can see that working is the date stamped onto the envelope by the post office being referanced

Is the above method valid? Is it not wirth doing at all? or is there an alternative method?

Bit confuzzled :P

Sorry to bother everyone with quetsions that have probably been asked before.

Bufty
09-11-2008, 05:05 PM
.
I'm fairly certain this has been asked before, I did try a search but I couldn't narrow it down enough to find the right thread.

If anyone could link me to a previous thread of just quickly answer my question I'd appreciate it.

I believe that in general whatever you write is copyrighted because you wrote it (not certain), Correct, and no further action is needed. When publication appears on the horizon your publisher will do whatever else is necessary but copyright re your writing is automatically yours the moment your words are put onto paper, your computer or whatever.


I've also been told by a few people that when they copyright their work they post it to themselves and don't open the envelopes. The onyl way I can see that working is the date stamped onto the envelope by the post office being referanced

Is the above method valid? Is it not wirth doing at all? or is there an alternative method? Utter waste of time and not worth a hoot

Bit confuzzled :P

Sorry to bother everyone with quetsions that have probably been asked before.

L M Ashton
09-11-2008, 05:18 PM
The method of mailing yourself your manuscript/whatever is called the Poor Man's Copyright. You might find more information by searching using those terms, but basically, yeah, it's a complete waste of time and not recognized in many countries. I'm not sure about the UK. There are other, better ways of proving that you're the owner of your work. Keep notes on your characters, setting, plot, etc. as you develop them. Anyone who would steal a manuscript/plagiarize wouldn't have those notes. Get a gmail account (for example) if you don't already have one and email yourself copies of your manuscript at various stages through development, writing, editing, and so on. Use an online backup service (some are free) for backing up those documents. There are other things you can do, but this'll get you started. :)

Bufty
09-11-2008, 05:21 PM
Here's a list of FAQ's. Check the end of the list.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=657721&postcount=9

Momento Mori
09-11-2008, 06:41 PM
L M Ashton:
The method of mailing yourself your manuscript/whatever is called the Poor Man's Copyright. You might find more information by searching using those terms, but basically, yeah, it's a complete waste of time and not recognized in many countries. I'm not sure about the UK.

It's pretty much a waste of time in the UK as well. About the only value it could have is as evidence as to when a manuscript existed in a particular form, but the chances of such an issue arising are pretty small and to prevent challenge you'd basically need a solicitor to seal the envelope for you, give a declaration that they did so, send the manuscript by registered delivery to get a date and time stamp and then keep it with the solicitor or in a bank. That's a lot of time and money spent for very little reward and a marginal situation.

MM

Edmontonian
09-11-2008, 07:01 PM
Hi,

When I was in law school in Canada, our intellectual property professor showed us a few examples when the mail method had proven itself, especially if it comes to going to court to establish who owns the copyright. The other method is, like other people mentioned, keeping your early drafts of manuscript, the rough outlines, if you have them, and anything else that can be used to establish, if need be, that you went through a process of coming up with this book/series/story.

Our business, however, is one that is, at least to some extent, based on trust: trust that our agents or beta readers will not copy our work and circulate it as their own. There is some risk involved, but I would say it is at a very acceptable level.

Thanks,

ED

ResearchGuy
09-11-2008, 07:13 PM
. . .

If anyone could link me to a previous thread of just quickly answer my question I'd appreciate it.
. . .
See the Copyright Basics and the FAQ at www.copyright.gov.

Pay close attention to the difference between copyright and registration of copyright.

(UK might have different rules, but I suspect the essentials are the same. See http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy.htm .)

--Ken

qwerty
09-11-2008, 07:23 PM
I only know about the UK, but, as I understand it, my work is copyrighted as mine simply because I am the author. You can register copyright in Britain, but I can't find anything about why you would need to do so.

maestrowork
09-11-2008, 07:32 PM
Poor man's copyright does not work.

You already have copyright when you write it. The matter is how do you prove it?

It only takes $35 to register copyright in the US, by the way. But I wouldn't do it unless I have the final draft. I only registered after my publisher offered me a contract (that's why the copyright was 2005 while the book didn't come out until 2006).

Don't know what you need to do in the UK, but I assume it's similar.

ResearchGuy
09-11-2008, 07:47 PM
. . .

It only takes $35 to register copyright in the US, by the way.. . . .
Currently $45 (last I checked, a few months ago, and what I have been paying).

BTW, it is not attractive to publishers if the author has previously registered copyright on a work. Registration typically comes after publication: fee + two copies of the "best edition" of the published book. (U.S, that is.)

--Ken

Bufty
09-11-2008, 07:47 PM
I'm not sure it is, Maestro. The web links I got suggested there was no equivalent facility here for registering copyright as there is in the US.

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy/c-claim/c-auto.htm

ResearchGuy
09-11-2008, 07:53 PM
I'm not sure it is, Maestro. The web links I got suggested there was no equivalent facility here for registering copyright as there is in the US.

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy/c-claim/c-auto.htm


Copyright Registers

There is no official copyright register because copyright is automatic. There are certain steps you can take to protect your rights, but you do not have to register anywhere.
There are, however, a number of companies that offer unofficial copyright registers. You should think very carefully whether this is a useful service for you before choosing this route. Some of the things to think about are: [etc.]


http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy/c-claim/c-register.htm

Definitely a different approach than in the U.S.

--Ken

qwerty
09-11-2008, 09:20 PM
Thanks for that UK link, ResearchGuy. I was trying to find it earlier.

One of the reasons I didn't sign a publisher's contract (vis-a-vis the Libros thread on Bewares & Background) was because it contained a para saying the publisher would register copyright and I would be issued with a separate copyright agreement later.

maestrowork
09-11-2008, 09:38 PM
Can a UK author register through the US Library of Congress? Would the registration stand in the court of law in the UK?

ideagirl
09-12-2008, 12:05 AM
I only know about the UK, but, as I understand it, my work is copyrighted as mine simply because I am the author. You can register copyright in Britain, but I can't find anything about why you would need to do so.

Don't know about the UK, but in the US, there are two major advantages of registering your copyright:

(1) Registration is prima facie evidence that you own the copyright. That means if you register the work, you're legally presumed to be the rightful owner of the work. This makes it much easier to protect your work than it would be if all you had was a postmarked envelope or whatever other BS methods people try to use.

(2) Registration lets you sue for copyright infringement. You cannot sue unless you register it. That doesn't mean you have to register it before the infringement happens, but you do have to register it before you file a lawsuit.

And registration is ridiculously easy nowadays. You can do the entire process online for $35. If you have a bunch of works--several stories, several poems/songs, etc.--bunch them together and register it as a short story collection, poetry collection, etc., rather than spending $35 per story/poem/song.

ideagirl
09-12-2008, 12:07 AM
Can a UK author register through the US Library of Congress? Would the registration stand in the court of law in the UK?

Maybe to the first question.
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-who.html#foreigners

I have no idea about the second question.

ResearchGuy
09-12-2008, 01:50 AM
. . . a para saying the publisher would register copyright and I would be issued with a separate copyright agreement later.
FWIW, for the books I publish, I ask the author to complete and sign the copyright form and give it to me. I then, after publication, mail the form, two copies of the published book, and check for the fee ($45 now as far as I know) to the Copyright Office, which in due time mails the certificate directly to the author at the address the author put on the form. My publishing agreement provides that I have the publishing rights, but not copyright, which belongs to the author. (I just do not want the nuisance of completing the form -- and the author has to sign it anyway.)

--Ken

IceCreamEmpress
09-12-2008, 01:58 AM
US copyright registration is $45 if you do it by mail, $35 if you do it online. (http://www.copyright.gov/register/)

ResearchGuy
09-12-2008, 02:07 AM
US copyright registration is $45 if you do it by mail, $35 if you do it online. (http://www.copyright.gov/register/)
Ah! (I think I'd still prefer to send form and books together with check, esp. as I am doing so on behalf of the author and I'm still going to have to take package to the Post Office anyway, but it is good to know the options.)

--Ken

Bufty
09-12-2008, 02:35 AM
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/abroad/abroad-copy.htm

The answer is in there, but I don't profess to have any legal background on this topic so I'm not commenting further.


Can a UK author register through the US Library of Congress? Would the registration stand in the court of law in the UK?

benbradley
09-12-2008, 03:36 AM
Can a UK author register through the US Library of Congress?
From what I recall reading at http://copyright.gov, yes. Basically, they'll take anyone's work and money.

Would the registration stand in the court of law in the UK?
IANAUKL. IANAL. HAND.

raxen
09-12-2008, 03:42 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. I didn't realise there was so many ins and outs :P
I'll move on from here and check out all these links.

ideagirl
09-16-2008, 10:35 PM
(I think I'd still prefer to send form and books together with check, esp. as I am doing so on behalf of the author and I'm still going to have to take package to the Post Office anyway, but it is good to know the options.)

When you register online, you can upload the work (so you don't have to mail it in) and pay online. If for some reason you really want to mail the work in, you also have the option of printing out a special mailing label for that purpose (it's special in the sense that it has a bar code or something that lets the Copyright Office instantly match up the package you send with the online registration you completed).

circlexranch
09-17-2008, 02:53 AM
Too cool that the FINALLY got it online. The copyright office are an odd bunch. I've always joked that they still use quill pens and abacus to keep track of everything.

I am an attorney who has been in a duel-to-the-death intellectual property lawsuit on behalf of our family for three years. I am winning and have been forced to become an intellectual property jock.

Copyright is definitely a lot less complicated now than it used to be. Registration is paramount. Someone above said you can't sue without a registration. That's not true. You can still sue, but you are limited to recovery of actual damages and injunctive relief. The motherlode - legal fees, statutory damages and punitive damages - is limited to registered works.

Way cool - will be using the online forms from now on!