Friday, June 03, 2005

A tad more about copyright

From an ongoing and tired copyright discussion on a Yahoo Group.

"Copyright...take two...I HATE Yahoo."

Someone mentioned using a notary rather than a proper copyright . . .

"Print out a copy of your mss. Have the title page of the mss notarized and dated ..., A notary seal across the sealed flap . . ." and on and on.

My reply, USELESS unless it has been tested in court.

Apparently, the "Poor Man's Copyright" is still alive and is still widely promoted on various writers' groups and mailing lists as a reasonable alternative to proper copyright registration. The PMC needs to die, and die as soon as possible. The PMC predates the Internet and the premise is simple: you mail something to yourself and hide the unopened envelope in a safe place; the postmark date proves you created something on a certain date.

By the way, gentle readers, let us be clear. It is copyright. It is not copywright, copy right, or copy write. Get it?

Apparently, some of you have the idea that posting to a web server proves your creation date. You are relying upon the server's time stamp to prove the date. Some readers have mentioned notarizing the title page of your manuscript or using wax seals that cannot be broken is a reasonable alternative to proper registration.

Let us face facts. There is one way to copyright your efforts and that is properly. I suspect people want shortcuts because the copyright fees make it expensive to protect every thing they write. Certainly not needed in my view.

Robert Maxey - Salt Lake City, Utah

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