1. webdev
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    webdev New Member

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    Copyrighting Poems

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by webdev, Jun 19, 2006.

    Do any of you go through any process to copyright your poetry? I know as soon as you create a poem it has the copyright law protecting it, but do you do anything else?

    I've heard some examples where people will send themselves their poem through registered mail, that way they have something dated and can prove the work is their own(they don't open the letter obviously). Do you do anything similar?
     
  2. Kain
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    Kain New Member

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    As long as you don't do things (or not do things) that make it easy for people to steal your work and get away with it, you should be fine. You can register your work with the copyright office (at least if you're in the US), but that can be costly.

    Unfortunately, this isn't a good method. It was until a few years back some lawyers proved that it isn't always active. Some guy mailed an unsealed letter, put in the writing that was written after the postmark date (such as a newspaper article) and showed it to the court. In such a case, it's not great evidence.
     
  3. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    To all my knowledge, Kain is correct.
     
  4. webdev
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    webdev New Member

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    So what is there any way you can protect your work from getting stolen? For example, if I submit my work to a magazine and they decide to print it, if an established writer claims I stole the poem would the court put it on him to prove it was stolen?

    Also, I've thought about making a website to post some of my writing on, but have always worried about someone coming along and taking one and publishing it.

    Hate the "what if" questions, but have been things I've always wondered about.
     
  5. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    This is an issue that writer's will always be faced with. In just about every situation, the person who claims you stole there work would have to present proof that you did. For example, they could bring fourth their exact same poem they had published in a magazine three years earlier.

    If you post your writing on the internet, it is very possible for it to be stolen. But as for precautions, I'm not sure there's much you can do.

    Things I think of right off my mind:

    1) Post a copyright notice at the end of every piece of writing.

    2) Keep in mind that the website you post your writing on can back you up in court possibly as evidence.

    3) Google website cache can possibly prove you wrote it up to a certain date, though that's not very reliable.

    4) You can copywriting your writing with the library of congress. If you have a novel or a large book of poems, that's the safest way to go.
     
  6. Eddy
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    Eddy New Member

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    Very nice. This is helpful.
     
  7. Baybgirlr
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    Baybgirlr New Member

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    Hey, thanks for this info i was wondering about this matter of protecting my work also, I have many poems I've wanted to share yet feared they would be stolen.
     
  8. Esaul
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    Esaul Member

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    I've learned several things...

    A.) Slabbing a copyright on something doesn't mean it is copyrighted at all. Anyone can do that with the use of html.

    B.) Legally you have to do the whole process of getting a copyright. From what I saw it isn't costly at all. I checked a few days back and it said that it was 45 dollars to get one. And not only that, but if someone were to write a novel and he/she is in the process of it, they can get a copyright still even if it isn't finished. And also you can have up to three authors on it. I think 45 dollars is worth it.
     
  9. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Anything and everything you write is copyright to you. It just isn't copyrighted in a legal sense. I mean, if you get it copyrighted with your government, you can then prove that it's yours, whereas if you just write it, proving it's yours becomes much more difficult.

    Yeah, but to do that for poetry can oftentimes be impractical.
     
  10. ariella
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    ariella Contributing Member

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    Well this was really interesting and great as I too have been wondering about copyrighting for the last couple of weeks.
    Thanks
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to straighten out some misinformation here...

    sorry, but that's done only by amateurs... anyone in the publishing business knows that all work is copyrighted from the moment it's finished and existing in any reproducable form... adding the copyright notice isn't necessary... and most unseasoned writers don't even type it correctly... for the official info on this and all other copyright issues, go to the source:

    www.copyright.gov

    sorry, but the 'possibly' isn't even possible... posting on a website is not accepted as evidence of ownership, as far as i know... you can get info on this from the loc site, too... if not covered by the FAQs, you can email questions and get a fairly speedy reply that will be relevant to the copyright laws of the us...

    for writers in the uk, the site is www.bl.uk

    again, not legally accepted proof...

    this is partly true... but it's 'copyright' not 'copyrwriting' [which = writing copy for ads, sites, etc.]...

    wrong... all that you write IS 'copyrighted' automatically, as soon as it exists [as explained above]... and it IS 'legal'...

    paying for the 'registration' of your already existing copyright at loc or wga [which is ALL you're doing], doesn't make it more legal, although loc registration does enable you to collect court costs and damages, if you win]... and doesn't really make it much easier to prove you wrote it...

    all it proves is when you registered your copyright... proof you wrote it will still have to be presented in court, if you can afford to go there [or are sued by someone else over the work]...

    the best proof/protection you can have is to keep all your notes, from the first idea to finished work... along with your first draft and a couple of subsequent ones, to provide a paper trail that no one else will have [unless they're clever enough to fake one!:eek: ]...

    please go to the government site for important info such as this, instead of taking any well-meaning forum members' advice/info as gospel [yes, that includes mine!;) ]...

    love and hugs, maia
     

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