How do I get my book copyrighted is one of the most common questions new writers ask. It’s also a very important question. While most writers do not have their work stolen or copied by someone else, it does happen, and preparation is the best defense.What is Copyright?Many don’t know that your work is “copyrighted” the minute you produce it; it belongs to you exclusively. Once your work is in a concrete form (written down, in the case of literary work), it is yours and you have the legal ownership.Unfortunately, this is a fairly nebulous protection, legally. You know you own it, but a court might want to see that you have registered the copyright.Registering copyright proves your legal ownership of the work. So while you own the work immediately, copyrighting it (more accurately, registering the copyright) gives you the legal proof you need in case of problems.If you should find yourself a victim of plagiarism, you must have the copyright registered before you can litigate your claim. Having registered the copyright as soon as the work was either complete or published strengthens your claim.How to RegisterRegistering a copyright is simple and inexpensive.When you’ve completed your book, obtain a copyright form from the US Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov). There are three forms available for copyrighting literary works, and the Copyright Office’s web site can help you choose which form you need.You will need to submit the form, a $50 copyright registration fee, and one copy of your work in its “best edition.” If you’re copyrighting an unpublished work, you will send a copy of the manuscript; if copyrighting a published work, send the hardcover edition if one exists.You can also register through their online site and pay only $35. Got to the Copyright Office website at copyright.gov and click on electronic Copyright Office.Expect to wait from nine to 22 months to receive your certificate.Beware of ScamsBecause copyright is much easier than many people realize, there are plenty of unscrupulous people ready to take advantage of people who don’t know how to copyright their work. These scam artists will offer to “copyright” your work for you-for a fee.You do not need to hire a copyright agent, and there is no need to pay someone else to take care of your copyright registration. Some of the agents offering to do this are reputable; others are not, and some have been known to register copyrights in their own names. All of them, however, offer to do something, for an additional fee. You can do this yourself.Registering your copyright should be a part of your publishing process. If you work with a publisher, by sure that they register the copyright in your name, not theirs.With copyright registration so accessible to all writers, copyrighting your new works should become almost automatic.
The Simple GuideAre you worried that the samples you’re using in your tracks are illegal? Or wondering if you’re breaking the law by downloading that mp3? Or are you just concerned that people don’t copy your own, carefully put together, original material?Stop now!Before you start that download, or release that song, copyright for music can be a confusing subject, and it is worth researching music copyright laws in detail. Below are some essential things to know about copyright for music, from expert producers.The Essentials for ArtistsQ) Is there anything people should consider before looking further into copyright for music?A) Yes – music copyright laws certainly depend on which country you live in. In most countries, an artist essentially owns the material the instant they create it, as long as it is completely original and not an adaptation someone else’s work without permission. Despite that, most artists ensure their material is fully legally protected by music copyright laws. To do this, some countries require artists to fill out forms in order to enforce copyright for music, in others, there is a completely different method in place.Taking two major countries as examples UK laws are different from those in the USA.Copyright for Music in the USAQ) I expect more of our readers to be coming from the USA – so, for the artists trying to find out how they can protect their music, can you tell us more?A) In the USA, copyright for music is registered with the US Copyright Office. The cheapest way is registering online at the U.S Electronic Copyrighting Office website, and fill out the Form CO application form. The application requires a $35 fee, and a digital copy of your work – but this is a small price to pay for being on the right side of music copyright laws.You can also submit a form on paper too – this is the old method, but is still accepted, and costs $45. The form is called Form SR, and to get it you’ll need to request it from the US Copyright Office.Music Copyright Laws in the UKQ) OK, so a UK artist wants to copyright their work. How do they go about it?A) Unlike the USA, there is no official register in the UK, and no forms. Because of this, it is a good idea to be sure your work can be proved legally your own – to do this, you can post a copy of your work to yourself in a registered envelope. Store it without opening it alongside a dated receipt from the post office, and you instantly have evidence of your ownership over your music, and you’ve secured music copyright laws.Although a lot of other countries follow similar rules, it’s worth finding out the specifics for your own.Is It Worth The Money and Effort?Q) Now that I know the basics of copyright for music, I also get the impression it does take a bit of effort – I just want to get on with letting people hear my track. Why should I go to the trouble?A) Any intellectual property that has no copyright owner is free to people who might try to use the track – or entire album, as the case may be – illegally, and claim it as their own. Once that’s been done it is difficult to prove whether it was originally your work.It also encourages illegal downloads – if nobody holds the copyright over a song, music copyright laws cannot protect it and it is essentially absolutely free for anyone.The Essentials for Music SharersQ) We all know people share tracks every day without paying a penny for it. So why do we care about music copyright laws?A) Well, enforcing copyright for music is beneficial all round – artists will not have to worry that others are taking the credit for their hard work, and listeners won’t get song upon song that all sound similar.Free Legal Music Downloads Sites – Are They Really Legal?Q) Am I breaking the law, and is it that serious if I download a song for free?A) Depending on where you got the song, who gave it to you, and which version it was, its unlikely you’ll ever be sure what you’re downloading is legal. This can sometimes have very serious potential consequences.Legal Music Download SitesQ) How can I download free music without having to worry about copyright laws?A) We would advise that your best bet is to look for less-known artists, browse their websites, or just ask them – you’re most likely to get a free song for your efforts and compliments.Another way is to find websites that support less known artists. Most of the music won’t be free, but will comply with music copyright laws, and will be good quality, cheap and original. Be prepared for spending a bit of time on your search, because sites like this aren’t as well known as ones selling major tracks at a more expensive price in order to be able to comply with music copyright laws.
Copyright is a protection that covers published and unpublished works as long as they are fixed in material form. Copyright protection begins when this work is actually created and put in any tangible form. For instance, if I write original song lyrics, the copyright begins at the moment the lyrics are put on paper in any form. Further proof can be created by putting the lyrics in an envelope and mailing them, thus using the postmark to establish the date of creation. Next, it is a good idea to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office if you hope to be able to sue for monetary damages.However, if it doesn’t have a copyright notice, is it still copyrighted? Today almost all major nations follow the Berne Copyright Convention. In the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. This also applies to digital art and graphics.As long as you are the true author of the work, it is illegal to place the copyright © symbol next to your name. Actually, it is your right to do so. The best way to place a copyright notice is as follows: Copyright © (first date of creation) (name of owner) ex.: Copyright © 2010 Sheryl Skutelsky. You can use C in a circle © instead of “Copyright” but “(C)” has never been given legal force. The phrase “All Rights Reserved” used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. The dates that you see in a copyright statement do not refer to the dates that the owner’s material will expire, but rather the dates that the material was created or modified.When you see more than one date in a copyright, it means that certain things were created in one year and modified in another. It does not refer to the date that a copyright will expire. The Berne Convention establishes a minimum period that lasts the life of the author and fifty years after his or her death.So, remember that in this digital age almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written, and no copyright notice is required. Copyright can still be violated whether it is registered or not, but only the amount of damages is affected by that. By the way, posting E-mail is technically a violation, but revealing facts from E-mail you got isn’t. The law doesn’t do much to protect works with no commercial value. Copyright law was recently amended by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which changed Internet copyright in many ways by making computer programs illegal to copy. It might be a violation just to link to a web page, but it’s undecided as of this date.For more information, I found the following to be of great help: http://www.directlegal.com/learning_center.htmFor actually filing a copyright go to: http://www.copyright.gov/eco.Be careful with sites that charge just to help you file a copyright. The advantages of filing electronically include a lower filing fee of $35 for a basic claim and faster processing time. The next best option for registering basic claims is the new fill-in Form. The fee for a basic registration on Form CO is $50.The fee for a basic registration using one of the government forms is $65 payable by check or money order. Form CON (continuation sheet for applications) is also still available in paper. These paper forms are not accessible on the Copyright Office website; however, staff will send them to you by postal mail upon request if you write to:U.S. Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000
Many new musicians face similar issues when it comes to copyrighting their work. They will frequently say to a copyright attorney, “I self-recorded a CD with 10 songs, but I don’t have a lot of money. Can I just get a copyright for the whole CD?”To answer this question shortly and cheaply, the answer would be yes. However, to answer it correctly, the answer is no.It is possible for a musician who has composed 10 songs and then recorded them onto a CD to file a single copyright on the whole CD. But, when dealing with copyright issues, you need to bear mind what your initial motivation was for filing a copyright. Generally speaking, the reason that most people have for filing a copyright is to ensure that their work is safeguarded from unauthorized third-party use, also known as infringement. So, if a musician obtains a copyright on their whole CD, consisting of 10 songs, and another musician comes along and copies just one of those songs, then the copycat musician has exploited just 10% of the whole copyrighted CD.This could lead to the copycat musician to make the assertion that they are a fair consumer and not an infringer, with their claim being derived from the premise that their use of the copyrighted CD is diminimus, or a nominal amount that is not significant enough to constitute infringement. Even more frustrating, what if the copycat musician only uses 20% of one song? In this scenario, the percentage of the whole CD that the copycat musician is exploiting is only 2%, which is a very small amount, but will undoubtedly leave the original musician quite perturbed.When filing a single copyright for a number of sub-works, you need to ask yourself whether the would-be infringements are more likely to be of the individual facets of the work, or of the work as a whole. If you deem that the would-be infringements are more likely to be of the whole work, then a single copyright could be adequate. Yet, if you perceive that the would-be infringements are likely be of the individual components, then it is advisable to copyright each of the components separately.Another trouble spot of filing a single copyright on a whole work is that a copyright can only be registered for five years after its first publication. So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you do take the less expensive route and file a single copyright on your whole CD. Then, later on, you decide that you want to file a copyright on one of the individual songs. However, if five years have gone by since the whole CD was first published, it would not be possible for you to obtain an individual copyright registration, and you would be necessitated to rely on the original registration of the whole CD.Moreover, added complications can arise, such as whether the individual song was performed in a different way preceding the performance of its rendition on the CD. This situation could result in an allegation that that earlier song was not copyrighted and can therefore be infringed with impunity. This is a stretch, but in litigation, this argument could be used against you.In conclusion, for the more financially-strapped entrepreneurial musicians, spend the $45 per filing and file 10, and for those more financially free musicians, expend the $300 each and find a quality copyright attorney to assist you.An additional copyright matter to take into consideration pertains to the musical score and lyrics of a song. For the same aforementioned reasons why it is recommended that you file separate copyrights on the individual components of you work, it is also advisable to copyright the lyrics and the score separately.What is more, separate copyright registrations make it far less complicated for you to both sell and license the assorted pieces of your rights, without having to give away your work in its entirety.
Do authors need to copyright their books? Most authors know they own the rights to their works from the minute they put pen to paper. That said, many authors will mail themselves their manuscripts to get them stamped by the post office so they have historical proof of having written the work. This process is often known as “the poor man’s copyright” but according to the U.S. Copyright Office, there is no stipulation in the law to make this legal.In the old days, it may have also been easier for authors to prove they owned the rights to their works since they could probably produce their handwritten manuscripts, but today, with computers and the Internet, it may not be so easy to prove you own the copyright on your work since there is nothing unique about digital or computer files to show they are yours. In fact, if you typed your book in a Word document, who’s to say that same Word document on someone else’s computer couldn’t have belonged to that person first? While you may email your manuscript in Word form to a friend to read, and chances are your friend won’t publish it under his name, or it won’t mysteriously be taken from your email by some computer hacker, it may be best to play it safe.Of course, authors are busy writing and getting their books printed or trying to find publishers so getting a copyright might seem like a hassle or at least like taking out insurance to protect your work from being stolen, something almost unlikely to happen. That said, getting a copyright is neither difficult nor expensive.When do you apply for a copyright? You need to have a completed work, but a manuscript can be pre-registered (prior to publication), and then later, you can upload your completed book to the U.S. Copyright Office’s website or mail a paper copy of the book. Many authors are afraid when they mail out manuscripts to publishers that they will have their work stolen. If you are really concerned about that, you can get the manuscript pre-registered, but it is standard for most authors simply to type “copyright 2010″ or whatever year on the submission page of the manuscript along with their contact information, thereby informing the publisher the author is aware of his rights to his own work. And no reputable publisher is going to try to steal an author’s book anyway. In fact, often your publisher will register the copyright for you if you are traditionally published.If you self-publish, you can register with the U.S. Copyright Office yourself. Currently the cost is $35.00, not a whole lot more than printing and mailing a manuscript to yourself, and you can always count it as a business expense. If you don’t want to go through the trouble and you have been published by a subsidy or POD publisher, that publisher will usually register the copyright for a fee ranging from $99.00 and up because of the time it takes to register-about an hour, but remember they do it all the time. It might take you a little longer to do, but only you can determine how much your time is worth.If you register the copyright yourself, it is fairly easy. Everything you need is at copyright.gov. The site is very user-friendly with Frequently Asked Questions, forms, and step-by-step instructions. You have the option either of mailing in your work to obtain your copyright, or you can use the website’s e-copyright process, which is easy, but because digital files take time to upload and several steps are involved, it can be time-consuming. When you have finished, you’ll receive a receipt for payment and a separate one for uploading. You’ll want to keep a copies on your computer and hard copies as well (see why below).Each book is assigned a case number, which allows authors to check the status of their applications online. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, due to the tremendous backlog of applications, processing can take as long as nine months. Once the Copyright Office completes filing the registration, a certificate of your copyright will be issued to you.Once you have sent your application in, you’ll want to check periodically to make sure everything is active in your file. Because computers and people both make mistakes, it is possible your application will get lost somewhere along the way, so that’s why you want to keep your receipts. After all, you don’t want to wait three or six or nine months, only to find out you have to start all over again.Finally, one reason most authors may not think about as a reason to get their books copyrighted is to be prepared to sell a book’s film rights. After all, don’t we all wish Hollywood will come knocking? Recently, Claudia Newcorn, author of the fantasy novel “Crossover” has had the book optioned for screen rights. She told me, “If you enter negotiations on the book, for example with somebody for a movie, they are going to request your copyright number to signify to them that your book is registered, and it proves to the interested party that you do indeed own said manuscript/book, and are allowed to negotiate terms for it.” The same would be true not only for screen rights, but any other merchandising negotiations.In short, the wait for a copyright may seem long, but the application process is not. Considering the hundreds of hours you may have spent writing your book, and the loss in revenue if it is stolen, plus the legal fees you will spend without guarantee of winning your case, the benefits of having your book copyrighted far outweigh the small cost of time and money to protect your book.
Copyright is one of the forms of Intellectual Property. Under copyright, the creative works of literacy, artistic, musical and producers of cinematography films and sound recordings can be registered.All these intellectual works can be protected through the copyright registration.The Intellectual Property copyright shall be filed at copyright office, New Delhi. The copyright application can be filed by two ways either by courier or online facility. The forms can be freely downloaded from the official website of copyright. The triplet copies of copyright application shall send through courier to the copyright office. Application can be applied online by signing the new registration form before filing the copyright application.The copyright can be legally protected by filing the copyright form 4 (application for registration of copyright). The form 4 includes the statement of particulars and statement of further particulars. It is shortly termed as SOP AND SOFP respectively. It should be filled clearly and relevantly according to the requirements of form 4. It should not consist of over written and irrelevant points. For the blank answers, the word “not applicable” shall be written in the form 4.Each Single copyright application consists of single creative work. If it contains more than one work separate copyright application shall be submitted at the copyright office, New Delhi. Each copyright application shall be submitted along with the prescribed fee mention in the second schedule to the rules. The fees can be paid by postal order or demand draft payable to registrar of copyrights, New Delhi. A list of fees is available in the website of copyright office of New Delhi.The copyright applications shall be signed by the applicant or by an advocate. The proof of the power of attorney signed by the applicant and accepted by the advocate shall be submitted along with the copyright application form. The copies shall send to the copyright division, department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, 4th floor, Jeevan deep building, parliament street, New Delhi 110001.The duration of copyright varies according to the nature of work protected. The duration of the copyright is 60 years. In case of Literary, musical, artistic works have a duration which extends for the life of the author and 60 years from the end of the year in which author dies. In case of photographs, films, comport programs, sound recordings; they are protected for sixty years after publication of the above said work. After the end of the sixty year, the work is made available to the public with the consent of the owner of the copyright.
How do copyright thieves justify their dirty deeds to steal other author’s work? One accomplished copywriter recently damned them on a major online article Blog for authors. She blasted these thieves who steal other people’s works and then put them on their websites or put their name on the articles, stories or ebooks and use them for their own online content. Indeed, I agree and have had the same thoughts. In a way I suppose these copyright infringement thieves might argue that they are giving out information free online (even though they are often stealing it). These copyright thieves steal other author’s articles and replay it on their websites, without giving them credit. In a way this helps get information out to the world and in some ways it junks up the Internet as people searching key words keep getting the same article over and over again, under different author names or no name, in fact no one knows who wrote it or why? The person who stole it may not even remember where they lifted it from.I believe Google is doing some good for the world and care about making sure the search results are relevant yet, these copyright thieves often do so to the detriment of the Internet user. Google now has an informational TV program and their own channel on DirectTV broken into quick 7-minute segments, about the maximum allowable for the modern human brain to maintain attention to? (forget I said that!). But isn’t that actually part of the issue? These folks who steal other author’s articles are lazy and will not do their own work, yet isn’t that becoming the norm? Kids cheat on term papers, business people cheat on resumes and the problems of meteocrity are so ramped that no one knows where to start to keep humans from cheating?Google owns the search engine and is in business to make money. They benefit for pay per click ads. Unfortunately everyone has jumped onto the bandwagon setting up sites, which pay per click, which are search engine optimized. Because of this two things happen, eventually people ignore them and secondly they leave a site when they see the AdSense type side bars or become skeptical of the information immediately and give it a once over but in their mind start their elimination process of the site as relevant and prepare to dust the site and click out. Many of the people putting up these sites are doing so simply to make a quick buck, but in doing so they steal articles and infringe on author’s copyright, without giving credit to the author or allowing them the benefits of their own work. Think on this, it is a real problem.
I work with many nonprofit startups each year, so I get the opportunity to deal with many complex issues. Few are as complicated and confusing as copyright and royalty questions. Few are as complicated and confusing as copyright and royalty questions. My goal with this post is to give you some ideas of how best to deal with your intellectual property concerns.It is probably best to begin with a fictitious (but typical) example: Jane Doe is Executive Director of Money University, a 501(c)(3) organization that teaches lower income people the principles of money management. Jane is not only Executive Director, she is a founder, board member, and the primary instructor. Jane is also an author who has written two books about personal finance. The board believes her books, which were authored prior to the formation of the nonprofit, are a good fit to be sold by the organization to support its teaching program. There are also plans to have Jane create curriculum.Part I of our discussion will focus on the books Jane has already written. They are her intellectual property. She owns the copyright. They are perfect supplements to the nonprofit’s program, but Jane has a rather obvious conflict of interest. How can the nonprofit take advantage of these resources without it resulting in unfair benefit to Jane? Let’s examine some options and their impact on the situation.Jane gifts the copyrights over to the nonprofit. This is probably the easiest way to go, but not necessarily the best for Jane. The conflict of interest problem goes away, but Jane no longer has rights to her works. If she and the organization ever part ways, she cannot take back them back.
Jane sells the copyrights to the nonprofit. Possible, but problematic. Because of the conflict of interest, Jane can have no direct involvement in the decision of the board to buy the works. That’s kinda hard considering she is such a key person. Valuation would require an independent appraisal, which Jane would have to agree to. Plus, it isn’t really plausible that Jane would not have been involved in the board discussion of the sale. This rarely works.
Jane keeps the copyright and donates wholesale stock to the nonprofit. Now we’re getting to what can work…but even this can be a mess. Jane may not be able to afford to cover the cost.
Jane keeps the copyright and sells wholesale stock to the nonprofit. This scenario can work, but because of the conflict of interest, Jane cannot profit from this. That necessitates selling at cost. Even here, we may have yet another problem. If Jane self-publishes, she may have direct control over wholesale distribution. If Jane is working with a publisher, she may not.
Jane keeps the copyright and allows the nonprofit to buy wholesale directly from the publisher (or print-on-demand service). This is similar to scenario #4, but bypasses Jane. This is often a good way to go, but not always possible.To confuse matters further, the issue of royalties comes into play. If Jane has a publishing and distribution contract, she may earn royalties with wholesale and/or retail sales. That ‘ole conflict of interest monster rears its head again because Jane cannot profit from these transactions. Creative arrangements include contractually donating royalties back to the nonprofit or having the publisher forward royalties from organizational sales directly to the nonprofit.As you can see, this is an enormously complicated issue…and one that we deal with almost weekly. This discussion barely scratches the surface of the possibilities. Next time, we will take a look at what happens when Jane is asked to write curriculum for the nonprofit’s programs.
When it comes to protecting your intellectual property such as poems, short stories or music you need to protect it from others using it without your permission. There are some very creative people out there creating songs, poems and short stories that are very inspiring and uplifting. Ideas that seem to flow with ease from the minds of people who don’t think about protecting their words of a story or poem before they share it with the free world who will claim your work as their own and profit from it.The one thing that helped me to realize if I needed a copyright or copyright was paying attention to the one word that is actually a legal term that is the word Copyright. A Copyright gives the author or the owner of the material(s) the full rights of ownership, rights such as; the right to make as many copies of the document they want to for any purpose. Anyone else wanting to use that same document or any of the words contained in the document will need your expressed permission.Authors and writers who write for a living will have the copyrights to their own work. Obtaining Copyright protection for your literary work is relatively easy. You can seek the assistance of an Attorney who specializes in Copyright protection or you can do it yourself for about $35.00 and one half hour of your time to fill out the application and submit your work. I was able to do this service for a friend over the weekend. Initially the process was somewhat difficult, but that was only because It was necessary to understand the rules in preparing the work you need to send. If you paid more than $35.00 for your copyrights its because you more than likely opted for someone else to file for you.Getting the “Copyrights” to you your work is what you need, to prove and to show ownership of your material. By now you have realized that I spent no time in mentioning “copyright” that is because this term has nothing to do with protecting your work or proving that it belongs to you. I would recommend those seeking the copyrights to their work to do it yourself and deal directly with the online government sources to get the job done. Extra fees are involved to have someone do it for you and there are many websites that offer this service as a package deal. These websites will simple act as your agency filing out the needed paper work, but you will still need to pay the $35.00 registration fee the copyright government agency requires, so you might as well do it yourself.
Copyright law has changed a lot over the years. Generally, when you create artistic or intellectual material (photos, songs, music, articles,etc.), you automatically and instantly create a copyright. You may put the copyright symbol by your creation, but since 1989, this is not a requirement.. However, it is good practice to include it to inform people that the work is copyrighted.As far as registering your material, it is $35 for a basic copyright. The fee increases depending on what is involved; up to $215. It may not seem that much, but if you have hundreds or even thousands of items, you can see how it could add up. You can register a copyright yourself on line at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.There are a lot of people who choose not to register a copyright, since they own the copyright outright. The only time it becomes an issue is if someone uses your material without your permission, and they copy, reproduce or try to get financial gain from your work. Then, before pursuing legal action, you must copyright the material in question. Copyright law does not follow a consistent standard practice…much of it is on a case by case basis. There are many exceptions and exclusions.So, there are two sides to copyrighting. Some people put out their work without registering for a copyright. Some people think you should register a copyright for everything. A lot has to do with how you choose to display your work. Will it be on the Internet? Newspaper? Art Gallery? Is it just for your personal collection?Some say copyright only if you are able to back it up with legal action. This can be very expensive and take years to resolve. If you discover that someone has used a photograph or other content without your permission, you can have your lawyer send a cease and desist order, and sometimes that is all it takes. You can find all the information you need on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is also recommended that you consult a copyright and trademark attorney for further information.