1. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    How do you handle copyrights on material posted here?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by theamorset, Aug 16, 2016.

    Many people seem to post writing samples here. I am not so sure I want to until my copyright is completed. How is it handled here.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    In the U.S., as well as some other places, you have the copyright as soon as you put the work down in a tangible medium. You write it on paper, save it to disk, or what have you, and the copyright is yours, automatically. Registering it is generally a prerequisite to filing a claim for infringement, and registering it within certain time constraints can open the door to statutory damages &c.
     
  3. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    You're saying that basically no one registers a copyright unless they want to file for infringement?

    But the lawyer I talked to said to get my work copyrighted as soon as it was done(only minor spelling, etc, corrections being allowed under that copyright, it should be fairly done when one fills out the form and uploads it to copyright.gov), and further, that publishing any of it anywhere could interfere with future publishing arrangements.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, I'm saying you generally have to register for copyright before you can file for infringement.

    But if you wait until there is infringement, and it's well after publication, you may have lost the chance at statutory damages, attorney's fees, etc. It's smart to register when you publish it.

    Publishing could affect future chances to publish, depending on what rights a future publisher wants to acquire.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can interfere with future publishing because most publishers don't want reprints, they want the first rights. It's not really anything to do with your copyright.

    I never register my copyright; other authors register for everything. Personal preferences, I'd say.
     
  6. sahlmi
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    sahlmi Active Member

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    Honest question: don't publishers usually frown upon pre-copyrighted material (formal copyrighting, that is)? Or maybe you mean for self publishing?

    ETA: the above comments must have been typed at the same time I was replying, so my question is already answered.
     
  7. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    I don't understand where that was answered.
     
  8. sahlmi
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    sahlmi Active Member

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    Not so much an answer than a similar line of thinking.
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you may be confusing the practice of actually putting a little copyright symbol on your MS with registering copyright? I've heard some agents/editors say that the copyright symbol seems amateurish and they therefore don't like seeing it. But registering copyright? I'm not sure how they'd even know.

    (you should keep in mind that the title of your work may well change prior to publication, so registering too early could be a nuisance.)
     
  10. sahlmi
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    sahlmi Active Member

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    Thanks Bayview. And I meant if they accepted the work for their own publication.
     
  11. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've heard of publishers copyrighting authors' work once they've published them, but I don't know how common that is or how it all works.

    I don't know what the use is of copyrighting unpublished work. If someone steals it maybe you have the time and cash to pursue them legally and make them take it down, but the damage is done and I don't see how you'd get much in the way of financial compensation. Registering copyright seems a total waste of money for me.
     
  12. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I registered my copyright for WIP. It takes about ten minute on-line, costs $35 and then you wait about six months. I am goosey about posting my work in an open forum, probably unnecessarily so, and prefer to distribute via e-mail, so I know who sees it/got it.

    I don't advertise the copyright in my queries, but if I get an agent, I will let them know that it is copyrighted. I presume I would have to negotiate turning over the copyright to the publisher, or they would go forward with mine in lieu of their own.
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. Your work is copyrighted as soon as you write it - telling your agent that it's copyrighted would be completely redundant. You can tell her it's registered, if you want, but I doubt she'd care.

    And then when you find a publisher, you retain copyright; you just give them permission to publish your work (under whatever terms are in the contract). Any publisher who wants to take the copyright itself is a problem, and I doubt your agent would even consider it.
     
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  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Registering it in a timely fashion is what allows you to get potentially significant compensation, since you don't have to prove damages in order to recover, and you are eligible to recover attorney's fees.
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a US rule, though - laws are different in different jurisdictions, and I'm not really clear where the action would be brought, for something like piracy that is likely to be international...
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Best thing you'll be able to do in many piracy cases is simply issue a take down request. If the pirate's identity can be determined and they happen to love in your country, that's certainly better.
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, so I'm not sure the importance of registering copyright is all that significant for non-Americans. I mean, if an American plagiarized me, a Canadian, and I decided I wanted to pursue legal action, would it be my choice of whether to sue in Canada or the US, or...?
     
  18. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    So is it safe to assume that it's the author taking all the risk if he or she puts work up on a public website.
     
  19. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a pretty miniscule risk, but, yup, I can't think of anyone else who's risking anything. So whatever tiny risk there is would belong to the author.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If the infringement were only taking place here, I doubt you could sue in Canada (I don't know the jurisdictional laws there). These days, with online infringement, jurisdiction is often easier.

    You could pursue your rights in the U.S. under the Berne Convention, but I think you still need a U.S. registration for statutory damages and attorneys fees.
     
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So if it's online, do you just get to pick your jurisdiction? (I know it's mostly hypothetical - it's not going to be worth court costs most of the time. But in theory...)
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Sure. Who else would be taking it?
     
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  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It would depend on the laws of the country you're trying to bring suit in. Would get expensive in a hurry to file suit in a bunch of international jurisdictions.
     
  24. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    But how do you pick the country to bring suit in? It seems like it should be the place the violation occurred, but if it's online...?
     
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You could pick the country you live in, which would be cheapest in all probability. You could also file suit in the country where the infringer is (if the law allows it) and try to go after them there. It's not easy and filing suit isn't all that likely in my experience. I have clients for whom I send dozens of takedown notices over the course of a given year, mostly due to Chinese infringment (mostly patent and trademark), but the client hasn't sued anyone in China.
     

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