Title: Protect Your Work because No One Else Will!
When you have an idea you want to protect it as best as you can, especially if you feel it is something that people will like. This is where Copyrights come into play. We live in a litigious society so knowing this we have to do our best to protect ourselves. Copyrights are not to be confused with trademarks and patents. Each one is totally different. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs that define and distinguish you from someone else. The Nike symbol is a perfect example of a trademark. When we see it we know it’s Nike. Patents are protection for inventions. I’m going to discuss what a copyright is. Why it is important (besides the obvious reason) and where authors can obtain one.
According to the US Copy Right Office a copyright is “a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S.Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. Titles and character names cannot be copyrighted. So do not be surprised if you find a title the same as yours or characters with the same names as yours. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works (copyright.gov). The protection is for you the author in case someone decides to steal your work or if someone says that you stole their work.
Filing a copy right is simple. When filing online do not use google to find the website. A lot of sites will pop up. There is only one website associated with the government. It is Copyright.gov. You do not have to register with the site to obtain a copyright. Once your work is completed then your work is copyrighted. Use of the @ is sufficient enough. Or you can do a poor man’s copyright where you send a copy of your work to yourself. These methods do not protect you if lawsuits arise. The registration process is just to have physical proof that your work is protected in case something happens such as a lawsuit brought by you or against you. You can also pre-register your work.
Now that I have defined what a copyright is and where to get one, it makes perfect sense to obtain one. We work so hard to create songs, books, pictures why let someone else come along and steal what you worked so hard for. Any serious author knows this. If you are a new author or aspiring author I hope you take heed to this advice. $35 for a copyright will save you a headache and loss of money if someone decides to steal your work.
Writing isn’t a hobby for me. If it is for you then fine you may not want to invest in copyrights. But if you are writing because you enjoy it and see it as a career then you need treat your craft like a business! Protect your work cause no one else will!