All original works are automatically copywritten as you create them. You own all rights. This applies to written, music, artistic and works such as that.
You can file with the Library of Congress if you wish to protect your work. You own the rights even if you don't but it will help you in a court case.
You can sell all rights (not recommended) or parts of your rights such as the right to publish to individual companies.
I know of another way to PROVE that it is your work and that you created it before anyone else :
Send a copy of the manuscript - drawings - whatever it may be, to yourself by mail with your signature written across the envelope part where it opens. Better yet send it in a postal envelope and here is the important part :
Do not open it when you receive it. That way in a court of law you have a sealed and dated (by the United States Postal Service) item with an official stamp of the day you sent this item to yourself. If need be, the judge opens it up and can see that you created the work before that date.
This is excellent advice!
When I first started writing for magazines, every professional author told me that I should do this, and I have done so faithfully ever since. So far, there hasn't been an issue, but I know that I'm protected if ever one arises. I also send mine certified, but I don't think that's a requirement.
This is called 'the poor mans copyright' and it is a myth. It has no standing in court because anyone who owns a steam kettle can fake it.
Still, I'd rather veer on the safe side than not. If so many other authors have recommended it, then there must be something to it. Besides, it doesn't hurt..
It doesn't hurt it doesn't help either. Its lack of any legal standing is covered on most fact-checking and copyright webistes
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-g … ml#poorman
Your work is automatically protected by copyright from the moment it is fixed in a tangible medium, such as paper or a computer file. There is no need to register it.
If you have something important that you want to secure proof of copyright for, there are various places to register your copyright. One such place is the US Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress. There is also an international organization, part of the Berne Convention, where you can register your works online; protection is immediate. There are fees for such services, approximately $50-75.
Fiction Factory has written this hub about it, with links to various services:
As others have noted, your work is copyright-protected. If I'm not mistaken, however, that only gives you the right to sue for monies that you have actually lost from the copyright violation. Filing for a formal copyright allows you to also sue for punitive damages.
I'm glad I found this post here, because it was very helpful to me as well. Glad all of you had these answers!
Your work is copyrighted when you write it. If you want to copyright it through the Federal Government you do get some extra protection as far as what kind of damages you can sue for.
Mailing to yourself or paying some third party company to "register" you somehow (which gives you the same "protection" as mailing to yourself--which is nothing) does little to nothing. Those are myths, wives tales and, on occasion, scams based on wives tales.
Read up at the copyright office. Bottom line, don't worry about it, you are covered legally if you find your work ripped off. The real question is are you going to spend any money on the lawyer to get your rights enforced.
There are some benefits to formal U.S. copyright. But doing that through them is the only way to get it. All the other stuff is not worth your time. Don't pay anyone anything... you're just getting ripped off.
Photos in hubs are covered by copyright and subject to whatever licensing requirements the creator has decided. Some photos are licensed for free commercial use, normally attribution is required under a Creative Commons license. Some photos are in the public domain and can be used freely, but these are in the minority.
Note that "royalty free" images are not free of copyright. It simply means that once purchased, such images can be used without paying royalties to the creator. So that is like a copyright clearinghouse mechanism.
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