As I've wandered around the web reading different stories and seeing what other blogs look like, I've run across several people who are putting out about how their ideas keep getting stolen. They email this big company or that, they get turned down, a year later suddenly there's their idea written in bold print and tagged to someone else's name. I thought to myself, well, what DOES protect the written print? Is it like a perfume oil where you can only patent the name not the scent? Are you able to turn it into a document that can be legally bound to you somehow and preserved from everyone else? Can they take your story, change a few lines here and there and still call it their own? This is when I ran across copyrighting. Now, most of us have seen the symbol and heard about it but I realized, maybe not everyone knows how to get their work copyrighted or what all is protected when you do copyright. I'm not saying it will save the day mind you, but maybe, it might help when push comes to shove and you see your hard work glaring back at you with someone else's name attached to it and getting the credit. Here are some things I found along the way:
The quickest and easiest way to copyright is what is commonly called the poor man's copyright. Now, having typed that, I cannot find where any one person has 'copyrighted' that name and called it their own so I feel fairly safe in using it and not tagging anyone. Besides, if I had to tag everyone that used it, we would all be here for a very long time. But, what this apparently is is, you take your original copy, put it in an envelope and seal it, then mail to yourself and never open it. Seems fairly easy right? It is..... and that's one of the pitfalls of it. Something of this simple caliber can be faked. Letters can be steamed open and resealed with new content put inside and never have I read any story where this succeeded in helping a case out. The only thing I could think of to add on to this would be, have it witnessed and notarized but unfortunately that could also be faked as well if someone knows a notary. However, it's cheap and simple and easy.... except maybe the notary part.
The next thought I had was.... wait a minute, I've been copyrighted already! I had forgotten about a source I used once upon a time long ago.... www.poetry.com . I used to post my poems on there all the time and realized, once they accept your poem, they copyright it for you and it's free! It also has size restrictions as well so not a good solution for the lengthier writers out there. But, it can serve a purpose in a pinch if say, you are writing a book of poetry and wanting to sell it. You have each poem documented and copyrighted and safe for the most part because let's face it, where there's a will there's a way and if someone truly wants to steal something they will. Period.
That train of thought though made me realize.... there are so many ways we are already copyrighting our work and not even aware of it! How many times have you found yourself posting on websites you discover on Craigslist? (<--- not sure who that name beongs too but will notate that it does not belong to me... obviously.) It is a good tool to use to get on different website though. I have found several that do short stories, poems, books, blogging and etc. But, everytime you do that, you work is now protected because it's not like the ominous 'they' can't track when the site was created, when you posted on it and etc. that is need to prove the work is yours, validated and not done after the work was 'stolen' So, get out there and write on these sites! It's free, easy and protects your stuff!
For those of you needing legalities or have questions or want to copyright no matter where you post your stories, I ran across these other websites:
All of these sites let me to basically everything I needed and then some. A lot of it is repetative but hey, in cases like this you can never have too much information and you never know when one of those sites just might lead you to where you need to go. There seemed to be something for everyone on those sites including how to patent something. I have found these pages to be very useful in answering questions even though at this time, I am not quite ready to copyright anything at this time. I figure, everything I've really written, minus the poetry, has wound up on here so far. I haven't ventured into writing on other sites yet. But, keep in mind, this is definately something you want to do prior to subjecting that information to someone who has the potential to steal it. Also keep in mind, great minds do think alike and while we would all like to think we are 100% original, and maybe to our family we are, there is someone out there thinking the same thing as you so should someone beat you to the punch and it happens to be the same thing you were thinking, just say hey, they're brilliant like I am and call it a day....unless of course every single word is the same and in that case, get 'em.... but in a legal way only. Thanks again for taking the time to read my second blog ever written! I really appreciate readers!
PS. I am still learning to work the formats for the different ways a Hub can be set up so please forgive the basic look. I'm still learning. :-) Also, I will follow up with a Hub on different sites where those stories, blogs and poems can all be posted as soon as I get a list going. No, they don't pay, but for those of us that are just beginning, sometimes just getting your word out there in the written form is what you need to help you get your next foot in the door.