1. Mage135
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    Mage135 New Member

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    How to you copyright if l the cover art and story are by the author?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Mage135, Oct 9, 2016.

    Hello all,

    I am currently drafting a story, my first! I already have an illustration along with the story. The story was actually inspired by the artwork. How might you go about copyrighting what first?
     
  2. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Copyright applies from the moment you publish your story. (Actually from the moment you write it but that's almost impossible to prove.)

    Covers I don't know about but I'm guessing it's the same.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  3. Mage135
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    Mage135 New Member

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    Thank you for the reply. The cover and story in progress are not as of yet public in any regard.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The cover and text are subject to copyright, owned by you, the moment you create them (depending on your country, but generally true).
     
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  5. Skye Walker
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    Skye Walker Member

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    That's actually helpful because I was wondering about how to go about copyrighting and copyrights and stuff. And I've been to lazy to look it up. Heh >_>
     
  6. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes and no to all of the above. Yes your work is technically copyrighted as soon as you establish proof... mail it to yourself, or e-mail it to yourself. However, you have few rights if you have to sue.... you have to prove damages, for one thing, which can be tough.

    You can copyright your work through copyright.gov, it is easy, done on line and costs about $35. Takes about six months. In my case I submitted artwork with the document, but it is not final, and included things from the internet (cover has a copy of Ptolemy's world map @150AD) and the maps throughout were also downloaded, and I marked the route for that chapter on them. At the end, I was questioned whether this was original artwork, or if I just wanted to copyright the text. I chose the latter, as the artwork all needs extensive rework, and got the final copyright on the text a few days later.

    Remember the copyright only gives you the right to sue, and presumptive damages, but otherwise does not protect your work. Many say it is not worthwhile, as the theft of a novel is relatively rare. My main concern has always been that if I post a fragment of my work on-line in the public domain, someone may plagiarize just a chapter. As some publishers use anti-plagiarism software to search the internet for part so your work, a copyright in hand protects against that.

    Other than that, it is not worth much, but it is cheap and fast. Wait until your work is finished, though
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @Lew the below may be largely what you're getting at, I couldn't tell but wanted to clarify. This all relates to U.S. law:

    1) The work is protected by copyright as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, like on paper, on disk, or the like. That happens by operation of law. There's no requirement of "proof" to establish the copyright. If you want to enforce it, that's a different story;

    2) Mailing to yourself is not worth much. E-mailing might be better. Uploading to a cloud service probably even better in terms of proof of possession. I've had people simply have each page of a copy witnessed by people who would be willing to testify to their signature, which might ultimately be the best if you had to prove possession in court; and

    3) You don't necessarily have to prove damages if you've registered your work in a timely fashion (within three months of publication, or before infringement; the former, from a practical standpoint) because the Copyright Act allows for statutory damages in those instances. Under the statute, there will be a minimum and maximum damage award regardless of whether you can prove you've been harmed at all (and the maximum is substantial). If you registered outside of the time windows above, the statutory damages provisions aren't going to help and you'll still have to prove actual damages.
     
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  8. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right @Steerpike, we have had this discussion! Not being a lawyer, I avoid being too specific about the details, but I think we are in agreement. You are right, the devil is in the enforcement, if you haven't gone through the government copyright office.
     
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I thought so :) My memory about forum discussion isn't all that great. Entirely unrelated to age, I'm sure. :rofl:
     

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