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editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

seun

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I suppose you could but you don't really need to. As far as I know, you hold the copyright as soon as you write something. And to be honest, what are the chances of someone breaking into your house, nicking your computer and passing off some unfinished books as their own?
 

rukkus

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No. Isn't the UK one of those countries whereby your work is automatically copyrighted when you write it anyway?

Besides, if I'm not mistaken you would have to pay to copyright your work every time you update/change it. So, you'd have to copyright those 20 different drafts you might do.

Why waste the money when A) You're protected anyway. B) You would most likely never win a copyright suit OR find yourself in one, and C) Getting a publisher would sort all of it out.

There seems to be a lot of unnecessary paranoia when it comes to copyright, as a writer in this day and age you have bigger things to worry about...
 
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quicklime

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ambitious,

outfits like that are to profit off warrantless fear, as mentioned.
 

Mr Flibble

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Hmm taking an actual look at the site (sorry I took a quick scan earlier but I thought they were actually copyrighting. I need new glasses) - they aren't actually copyrighting it. They just hold on to it, with a date/time stamp. An e-version of poor man's copyright.

You could e-mail it to yourself for teh same thing they're giving you and save the money. (Plus it's a handy backup)
 

Terie

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Hmm taking an actual look at the site (sorry I took a quick scan earlier but I thought they were actually copyrighting. I need new glasses) - they aren't actually copyrighting it. They just hold on to it, with a date/time stamp. An e-version of poor man's copyright.

You could e-mail it to yourself for teh same thing they're giving you and save the money. (Plus it's a handy backup)

To be clear, poor man's copyright (mailing it to yourself) is meaningless in the US. It's been a popular myth for a long time, but you can't use it in court.

I've heard it said that it IS valid in the UK, but I have a hard time believing that. After all, you could post an empty envelope to yourself and only shove a printed manuscript into it if it became necessary.

What I do know from personal experience is that it's totally unnecessary. The copyright infringement case involving my work was settled out of court (in my favour) and didn't require any of these measures, and I'm in the UK (as were the other parties). I had plenty of copies of the work in question on several hard drives.
 

Mr Flibble

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I'm fairly sure it's invalid in the UK too (for exactly the reason you mention)

But if you wanted to do an e-version, instead of paying someone to e-mail them your stuff, just e-mail yourself. (I do this occasionally for extra backups, not for copyright)
 

Cyia

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To be clear, poor man's copyright (mailing it to yourself) is meaningless in the US. It's been a popular myth for a long time, but you can't use it in court.

I've heard it said that it IS valid in the UK, but I have a hard time believing that. After all, you could post an empty envelope to yourself and only shove a printed manuscript into it if it became necessary.

What I do know from personal experience is that it's totally unnecessary. The copyright infringement case involving my work was settled out of court (in my favour) and didn't require any of these measures, and I'm in the UK (as were the other parties). I had plenty of copies of the work in question on several hard drives.

Emailing it to yourself =/= poor man's copyright. It's a date stamp to show the time and date something was in its fixed form. If you email the file to yourself as you change it (like at the end of each day or each week) it establishes that you were, in fact, the person working on it at a given point.

All of the files can be pulled up at will if needed to show the changes the document underwent. If there's a question about who did the work on a project, then you've got the full chain backed up.
 

seun

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But if you wanted to do an e-version, instead of paying someone to e-mail them your stuff, just e-mail yourself. (I do this occasionally for extra backups, not for copyright)

I do the same after each writing session. I'd rather be over cautious and have loads of emails than risk losing anything.
 

Cyia

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I do the same after each writing session. I'd rather be over cautious and have loads of emails than risk losing anything.


Comes in v v handy when you delete a scene and then realize a week later that you shouldn't have.
 

MikeGrant

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You don't have to do anything like this. The simple act of you writing the novels is enough. This "needing copyright" thing is a myth.
 

Terie

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(edited because of misreading the first time round.)

It's a myth that a court will accept mailed envelopes as any kind of evidence. As mentioned above, you could just post unsealed envelopes to yourself, then fill and seal them later. That's exactly why the court doesn't recognise it.

ETA: Here's the AW FAQ on copyright.

Your work is copyrighted as soon as it's written in fixed form. In the US, the advantage to registering your work is that if someone steals it and it goes to court, you're eligible to receive punitive damages as part of the settlement; if it's not registered, you can only get actual damages. But it's mostly a pointless waste of time and money. Your copyright will be registered by a publisher who contracts it.
 
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Jamesaritchie

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Poor man's copyright actually worked up until about 1910. Since then it's worse than useless, and completely unnecessary. Copyright law has changed dramatically over the years, and so has what courts will and won't accept as evidence.
 

Terie

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I didn't say otherwise.

Sorry. Having a bit of a bad day and my eyeballs didn't read the initial 'E' in 'Emailing' in your first sentence. But I'll leave my post (edited) since it still includes info that might be helpful to someone. :)
 

Anne Lyle

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My immediate reaction is that this is a ripoff service, bordering on a scam, that exploits the paranoia of many creative people (the "OMG what if I submit my story and the editor steals my idea" crowd). It's completely unnecessary, particularly if you do your research and only deal with reputable agents and publishers.
 

CaoPaux

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To quote Writer Beware: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/copyright/
In countries that don’t have an official registration process, such as the UK, there are many services that offer a sort of faux registration–really just a time-stamping or date verification service, supposedly designed to prove ownership of a work. But you can easily prove ownership yourself, by keeping draft copies, computer records, and the like; there’s no reason to pay someone else to do it. Such services, which provide neither legal advantage nor additional protection, are a waste of cash.
 

DreamWeaver

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Surely you can fake a date stamp on a file?
Sure you could. But as I understand it, the proof doesn't lie in the date stamp; it lies in the fact that you have multiple copies showing the evolution of the work over time. That's something that a thief wouldn't have. If they forged that, they would have to put so much work into it that it would be more work than writing their own book. Plus, even if they went to all that trouble, they'd almost certainly accidentally put in tell-tale clues that would bite them in the butt and catch them in their lies.

IANAL, so JMO :D.
 

Medievalist

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Don't bother. Seriously, you're paying for something you don't need, and that has no particular validity in court over, say, your hard copy drafts with edit notes.

Copyright cases don't as a rule hinge on dates; they hinge on "who created the work?"

Because usually, if a case goes to court, someone is not the real creator, and someone else is. The question the court is interested in is one of creation and/or derivation.

What you want to document is that you created the work.

So keep your multiple versions, keep your notes, and keep at least one version in hard copy with your editorial notes.

IANAL, thank heavens.
 

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