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  1. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    More copyright info please

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cherie, Oct 22, 2010.

    Hello, all,

    I have been wading through the threads and posts, and can't find the exact info I am looking for. I have finished my book and am ready to copyright. I logged on to the U.S. Copyright website, and found that copyright is a privilege you automatically acquire upon completion of any literary work.

    Applying to the Copyright Office is simply registering that copyright. It does absolutely nothing for you unless someone violates your copyright. The copyright must be registered to bring legal action against the violator.

    I spoke with an attorney, and he informed me that very few writers are able to successfully sue violators, as it is a very expensive undertaking. All legal action must be held in the violator's home state. You must attend all hearings. If you miss one, the case is dismissed in the violator's favor.

    The violator can also obtain multiple last minute continuances. If you live in New York, and the violator lives in California, that means you will have to fly or drive to his home state to file your case, return over and over for the hearings, and deal with annoying continuances. It is virtually impossible for most people, in terms of time and money, to successfully pursue this kind of action. Unless the writer is wealthy, and very determined, with endless time and energy to spend on such a legal battle, the copyright is basically useless.

    Is the attorney right? Are there any other benefits to having a copyright? If so, what are they? I would hate to think all you accomplish by registering a copyright is going through the hassle of sending it in, and essentially tossing $50 out the window.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Cherie
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you register in time, you can also ask for statutory damages, which in some cases may make the infringement action worth pursuing (particularly if you can show willful infringement). If you have to prove actual damages, it is much harder to do and the amount of actual damages you can prove may make pursuing the action cost more than you're going to get at the end of the process.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can collect the costs incurred in pursuing legal action as part of the settlement too.

    When you publish a book through a publisher, they will typically register it on your behalf. There is no sign ificant benefit in registering before then.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's the bottom line!... seasoned writers don't bother registering their copyright, though most screenwriters register and archive their scripts with wgaw...

    if you're a songwriter, it's another story... most will register their copyright, since it's a lot easier to steal a song/lyric than a book...
     
  5. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Thanks for the responses!

    Hello, Steerpike, Cogito, and mammamala,

    Thanks so much for your kind responses! They sure cut to the chase on the copyright thing. I think I will pass on getting the copyright. Now all I have to do is find the right publisher! LOL

    Thanks again,

    Cherie
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you may still be confused, because you already have the copyright on your work... the only thing you don't have is a copyright registration certificate...
     

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