Author: Hamish Gilbertson
Copyright is simple. Anything completely original that
you put on paper or in bytes is automatically copyrighted. It is yours; anyone
copying it is infringing upon your copyright. But what if?
We know. There is always a, "what if?" What would lawyers
do all day if the law wasn't open to interpretation? But why bother the legal
profession until you really need to?
A basic understanding of your rights to your creative endeavors
is an important part of your writer's armory. You can get much more than a basic
understanding of copyright online.
We've collected together some links to help you understand copyright:
- The US Copyright Office
The US Copyright office provides a great guide to copyright issues. Read thecopyright basics (the link will take you there) and FAQ's to gain a grasp of the issues you need to understand.
LA based entertainment lawyer, Jodi Sax, may be unduly influenced by the trials and tribulations of a certain television character but that doesn't stop her providing the lowdown on copyright. You will find her Copyright Fairy Godmother a good guide to the copyright registration process.
- American Bar Association
The lawyers take you through the basics of copyright law as it stands. It's all
there in commendably plain language - for lawyers, that is.
Writer, Elena Fawkner's words were stolen. Copying is the sincerest form of
flattery she thought and then she thought some more. Wordweaving.com published
her thoughts; they are well worth reading.
The official British take on copyright. We may use less u's and s's but we know
they are over there and they do things differently. This clearly presented site
offers an insight into copyright around the world. Check out: Canada, Australia and New
Zealand (Did we miss your country? Email
us a link.
Nolo's mission is to help the "legal system work for everyone -- not just lawyers".
This page from their legal encyclopedia can definitely help with your copyright
questions. Don't miss the myriad of links at the bottom of the page.
Fiction Writers Organization
Don't let the Sci-Fi bit put you off; this excellent site is useful to all writers.
The copyright page is informative and boasts a good list of informative links.
Go there and be informed.
University Digital Library
Many university libraries maintain a copyright information resource. This one
from Berkeley is one of the best, not least because it includes links relevant
to people concerned about copyright who are doing their "copyrighting" outside
Another useful guide to copyright resources available online.
They're Talking About Copyright in our Forums:
Can't find the answer you need? Ask
other writers your copyright questions.
5th: Do you need to copyright your manuscript before you throw it to publishing's
lions for consideration? This author did
but on May 22nd he was worried about the question of whether you need the dinky
little c in a circle. Do you?
17th: Stolen ideas and stories: the community gets together to commiserate
with each other. What can be done? Well...
12th: The question of "fair use" comes up and a participant spells out the
law. As one poster suggests, even when the law is spelt out it is not clear.
Links That Delve Deeper:
Regulations for the lowdown on the procedure - a lot less user-friendly than
the main copyright link but you may find the information useful.
Intellectual Property Organization for insight into the issues at the international