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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is Copyright Necessary?

There is a great Web site you can use to answer any copyright question you may have. I'm including the link and linking you directly to an article that addresses the issue of whether registering your copyright is necessary or not -

I am not a copyright expert, but my layperson understanding of copyright protection of written material is that in the years before computers, it was more important - there were no electronic trails to lead you back to the actual writer. In our day and age, our electronic stamp is on our material establishing and proving our copyright at the moment we save it. Even material written and posted on Web sites and blogs is protected.

I am involved in some professional forums and Web sites where writers post stories they have written. An example is Writers post stories they would like to sell or give to publications, and anyone is welcome to view them - no membership needed. They also offer monthly contests, and contest entries are available for all members to view. We have a similar forum through the Christian Writers Guild where we post stories for contests. We also post our stories when we want a general critique from other Guild members and students. There are also many online writers' groups that function by e-mailing their writing material to each other. Even in our LWC group, many of us often give our hard-copy material to other members and let them take it home and read it or critique it.

Does any of this guarantee that someone isn't going to steal something you write and try to sell it? No. But you can be assured that if they do, your electronic stamp is proof that the material is yours. And you can include the copyright symbol for added emphasis if you wish (we automatically own the copyright the moment we write it, without having to register for it - so you can add the copyright symbol to your material). Click here to find out how to add this symbol.

Of course there are larger works, screenplays and novels for example, that may be an exception(though copyright at that point would normally be handled by your agent).

If you still want the added protection and benefits of registering your copyright with the government's US Copyright Office, I am including the link to this as well -

Post by: LWC Director Karen Aldridge. Visit her personal blog at My Writing Loft.

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