1. TheFinalguy

    TheFinalguy Member

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    Copyright before publishing?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by TheFinalguy, Jun 21, 2018.

    I'll be honest, I'm new to the entire process... And I'm looking through the forums confirming to myself that this is a pretty arduous and agonizing process, but in all honesty, I write just to do it. I'd just rather not have my work stolen. Would it be better to copyright before finding an agent or a publisher? How would I go about finding the ideal publisher and their contacts for submission prerequisites?
     
  2. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributor Contributor

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    1. It's effectively copyrighted when you write it. Should there ever be a question about who really wrote the book, you presumably have a lot of supporting documents to prove you were the author (e.g. old drafts, etc).
    2. People generally only steal successful books. Not to say yours might not turn out to be one of them, but very few first novels are that successful. And it's extremely unlikely that someone in the trade publishing business would do so: in most cases it's people downloading successful self-published books, filing off the serial numbers, and uploading them as their own work.
    3. You really don't want to register copyright yourself if you intend to release the book through a publisher. For various reasons.
     
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  3. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    It is copyrighted the moment you fix your ideas in a medium.
    You can register the copyright to gain additional legal protections and damages should you sue and win.

    Not sure what process is agonizing. Getting the copyright from LOC copyright office is not hard.
    Go to their website and follow the instructions. Pay the money. Done.
     
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  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    The copyright is relatively cheap. You might as well do it. To get the full benefit, you want to do it no later than three months after publication. If you have a traditional publisher, they’ll likely handle it. If you want to register it before you shop the work around to publishers you can do that as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The answers to this vary depending on jurisdiction - the US is kinda unique in their registration system. Previous answers seem to be assuming you're in the US, but if you're not, you should tell the thread where you are.
     
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  6. TheFinalguy

    TheFinalguy Member

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    Thanks to everyone else for the helpful answers! I am in the US, but some folks are saying it would be better to wait before copyrighting until finding a publisher... Is this an opinion or is there something I should be worried about :X (I just sent the documents to the copyright office)
     
  7. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    Personally I think people are way too worried about a very unlikely event. The chance of anyone stealing your work is fat slim and none.
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I can’t think of a reason why this would hurt you. A traditional publisher will take care of this for you, generally, but if you’ve already done it there’s no real downside.
     
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  9. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributor Contributor

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    Except your book comes out in 2022 with 'copyright 2018' on the copyright page.

    Yeah, it's not a huge issue, but generally discouraged.
     
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  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If there are significant changes (any changes?) made to the originally registered document, might there be an issue with the registration not carrying over to the final version?
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    That doesn't make sense.

    Here is the law governing the copyright notice (17 U.S.C. 401):

    (emphasis added).

    As you can see from the statute, the copyright notice includes the date of first publication, irrespective of when it was registered. The copyright actually comes into being the moment the work is created.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    If the changes are significant, it's probably a derivative work. You can register the copyright for that as well. The new material is subject to the new copyright, whereas the common material is still covered by the pre-existing copyright.
     
  13. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    Er... Um....
    Doesnt LOC consider publication when first fixed in a medium which is when you own the copyright?
    Registration is a separate action you may choose to take.

    Registration is separate from publishing isnt it ?
    Some mss are never 'published' as books , in the way you imply, yet they still have the same protection of law from when they were registered.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    No. "Publication" under the Copyright Act is also defined by statute, this time in 17 U.S.C. 101:

    "Publication” is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication."

    The copyright comes into existence when the work is "fixed." That doesn't depend on publication. Registration is an optional procedure that has advantages but isn't required to own the copyright.
     
  15. noobienieuw

    noobienieuw Banned

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    Looks like we all need an IP lawyer to guide us:)
     
  16. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Stubborn Finnsperger Contributor

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    I wrote a booklet. The NGO I was working in was going to publish it.

    My bosses substitute wanted to put her own name to it. She didn't write or edit a word.

    Meeting that accepted the booklet decided unanimously that that substitute boss can't put her name to the cover of that booklet.

    She took it to printing press and put her name to it. She also put some intern-assistant-whatevers name to it so that it does not seem like she did it alone.

    Happened in 2005.

    I could start serious writing this year. Tried many times, but couldn't.

    So she stole 13 writing years from me.
     
  17. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    That sounds like an aggravating situation, but trust me, there will be lots of OTHER aggravating situations if you're planning to become a "serious" writer.

    If you decide to get an agent, you'll almost certainly face countless rejections. Will that steal years from your writing life? Even if you do get an agent, there's still no guarantee you'll get published, and it's really hard to get an agent at all. Will you allow that to discourage you from writing? If you self-publish, you'll likely be met with very poor sales unless you spend more money than you make on promotion and advertising. How many years will be lost to that discouragement? If you ever get anything published, it will be pirated almost immediately. Will that steal years from your writing life?

    If you wrote your booklet at work, it was likely work-for-hire and the NGO held the copyright. If you wrote it on your own time, you held the copyright - why didn't you pursue action against the substitute boss? Was it because you realized that taking action would cost you thousands and thousands of dollars and regardless of copyright or registration, you just couldn't afford to do that for the sake of a pamphlet?
     
  18. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Stubborn Finnsperger Contributor

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    What are you talking about?

    You quote me and start babbling about something that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I wrote. Why? What are your motives to do that?

    Are you just mean and evil with no reason at all or don't you really understand quite simple thing?

    Nice to find someone that is expert in copyright legistlation of Finland and details & contracts of my past work.

    And there's stupid me thinking that I had a copyright to my own work and NGO had only rights to money they get when they sell booklets.

    What pamphlet?

    I didn't take action against the NGO/boss because they promised to take her name away. (Which they didn't do.)

    Everything was about intellectual ownership, not money.

    Your text smells like if you are trying very much to misunderstand everything and add your own "interpretations" to my statement.

    I would be very pleased if you won't comment my texts any more. Ever.
     
  19. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    You can use the "ignore" function so you won't SEE if I comment on your "texts". That's the best I can offer.

    If you need help figuring out how to use it, let me know, or ask a mod for help.
     
  20. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @Alan Aspie -- It's a public forum and you are inviting strangers into your situation for comment and advice. I don't think it's a good idea to start picking fights with some of the regulars or acting like you're above their comments. @BayView has a lot of knowledge and wisdom she regularly shares with the community. You're still new and with a lot to learn it would seem. I think it's shitty when people feel a need to publicly announce they are blocking someone or want to dismiss all their future comments. And this is the second time this week I have seen this done to @BayView. It's not cool, not at all.
     
  21. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I like to think it's their loss. :)
     
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  22. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Stubborn Finnsperger Contributor

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    I don't pick fight.

    Noobienieuw said that stealing work is unlikely. I told how that happened to me. (Partly. Intellectual ownership was partly stolen.)

    After that this one person started to babble about something totally else as if it was something I had said. That is dishonest - both morally and intellectually.

    If writers need to protect themselves from someone by using ignore, there could be something wrong with the one that forces others to protect themselves.

    And you are dishonest here...



    I did not invite anyone to comment nor advice. You can check. There is absolutely no that kind of invitation in the text he/she/whatever replied.

     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  23. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    That's exactly what you do when you post in a public forum. Anyone can post. You don't get to police it. And I think it's a little rude to dismiss it. Don't worry. You'll get along here just fine. I'm sure not winning any popularity contests. I like to talk shop and so does everyone else here. Maybe you should direct message people if you only want specific responses from specific people. Whatever.
     
  24. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You fundamentally misunderstood what BayView said. If you regularly misunderstand a poster and are angered as a result, then, yeah, the solution is to Ignore the poster.
     
  25. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Stubborn Finnsperger Contributor

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    To police is not the same as not to invite.

    If I point your comments dishonesty it is not the same as to police.

    Alf says: "I need your help..." He invites.

    Alf says: "I feel bad." He does not invite. He tells. He does not police.

    If someone lies that Alf asked for help and Alf tells he did not, it is not policing. It is pointing dishonesty.

    I stop this here. If anyone want's to go on, he/she/whatever can do it without me.
     

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