Is Your Work Protected By Copyright Law?

New or would-be authors sometimes worry about literary theft.

So, to protect your creative work, what should you do?

Copyright_symbol_9First of all, if you think you have a good idea for a story or a book, you should write it down and sign your name to it because your ideas are not protected.

Then, once your work is completed and ready for publication, you may want to consider filing it with the U.S. Copyright Office.  You can register online and the fee is minimal, around $35.00 if it’s a cut and dry registration.  Before you do register, make sure that your work is in its final form because if you make any changes to the file you register, you will need to re-register it.  

If you decide not to register your work, you are still considered to be the original author. If that is the case and copyright infringement takes place, you cannot press charges.  What you can do is send a cease and desist letter stating that you are the original owner and that you will be registering your work with the U.S. Copyright office.

The registration takes 6 to 8 months—at which time more damage could be done.

Registering your work allows you to take immediate legal action.   By registering your work, you will have a stronger legal position.  You could file a suit in court the very same day you discover your work has been stolen!  You would need to consult an attorney regarding your specific case.

But do keep this in mind, for the vast majority of you reading this blog, the likelihood of your literary work being stolen or plagiarized is low, very low.  But by registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, you will have peace of mind.

The fee for a simple online copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is nominal, as little as $35.00.  However, for more complicated situations, where there are multiple authors or creators, you may have to pay a higher fee or need to contact a lawyer to sort out the gray areas.

Information in this blog was provided via interview with Daniel Pierron, Registered Patent Attorney with Zies, Widerman, and Malek, Attorneys at Law, Melbourne, Florida.