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January 22, 2013


Working in the Word Mines – Copyright

by Michael Langlois

How do I copyright my work?

This is a popular question in writing communities, and not just among people looking to self-publish.  It also comes up from new authors worried about sending out short fiction to magazines, posting snippets on their blogs, or even before sending out novels to agents.  Fortunately, it has the best possible answer.

Don’t worry about it, you’re already covered.

From the horse’s mouth, aka the U.S. Copyright Office official FAQ:

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

Piece of cake.  You’re covered for your entire lifetime, plus 70 years after your death.  Personally, even as a holder of copyright myself, I feel that’s a bit much.  If you’re interested in why and what the downsides are for these extremely long copyright terms, take a minute to listen to the entertaining and eloquent CGPGrey on the topic:

Read more from Blog Posts, Writing
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 22 2013

    Lol, that was awesome. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Michael Langlois
      Jan 22 2013

      I really like CGPGrey’s videos. Nobody else in the world can make you WANT to watch an explanation of the debt ceiling 🙂

      • Jan 22 2013

        Lol, now that I *have* to see! 🙂 This is the first video of his that I’ve seen, and I like his approach. I can see him making a topic like that more fun to learn about. I’ll definitely check him out – and I’ll share this video on my blog too.

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