Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that allows authors of “original works of authorship” to protect their work.
Work that qualifies for copyright includes those of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works but does not protect facts, ideas, systems or methods of operations.
Copyright protection applies to published and unpublished works. It also allows the owner exclusive right to do or authorize others to reproduce, distribute copies, display or perform the work.
You may not realize it, but your work is protected the moment it is created and put into a tangible form. This means, technically, you do not have to register it to be protected. That said, there are limitations to not registering which I will get to later*.
A good way to anchor in your copyright intention is to put the copyright symbol © followed by the date and your name or company name. Additionally, you can choose to add “all rights reserved” afterwards.
© 2018 to present, Jamie Durner. All rights reserved.
Putting the copyright in print simply helps to gently remind folks that this is your unique work. The message is that it’s not okay to simply copy it. Of course, in this digitally connected and accessible age, copying likely happens all the time. Yet using the copyright symbol may act as a deterrent.
I recommend you place the copyright in the footer of documents and Power Point presentations as well as at the bottom of your blog posts.
Putting the information in the footer allows for it to be carried over throughout. Much easier than having to manually put it on each page or slide!
Want to make it even easier?
Of course you do!
Use these quick computer keyboard shortcuts to add the copyright icon:
- Press the Option key while pressing the G on a Mac computer
- Hold the Alt key while typing 0169 on the numeric/10-key keypad on a PC
- From the INSERT menu, select Header and Footer
- Check the box for footer
- Type in the footer text containing the copyright
- If you do not want it to show up on the first cover slide, mark the box that says “Don’t show on title slide”
- Click “Apply To All” to carry it throughout the entire presentation
*Now, back to the matter of limitations. As I stated, your original works are protected as soon as you create them in a tangible form. However, for larger or important works, you may wish to register them for stronger legal protection.
If you were to end up in a situation where you needed to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work, you need to have it registered.
Registering your work puts it into public record and gives you a certificate of registration. If done within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. That basically means you have a stronger legal stance for protecting your work.
How To Register a Copyright
The process is fairly simple. You submit a completed application form, with the fee, and a nonreturnable copy of the work you are wanting registered.
Registering your copyright is not expensive. The preferred registration method is electronically with a standard fee of $55. If you are the sole author and claimant, the fee is reduced to $35 for a single work. You can also choose to file with paper forms which are $85. There are certain types of copyright that must be filed with paper forms. More information on fees for these and other services can be found HERE.
Processing time takes 6-10 months depending on whether you’ve submitted electronically or by paper. This document guides you through the full process for a Single Application.
While not costly, registering a copyright does require time and effort. As such, you likely won’t do it for all your articles, handouts and blog posts. However, if you design a signature program that comes with a handbook or guide, you may wish to register it. And if you write an educational book, you will definitely want to register it.
I hope you found this useful and a good reminder to put your own © stamp in a variety of places. Happy creating!
© 2018-present, Jamie Durner, Holistic Business Mentor Coach @ holisticbusinessprosperity.com. All rights reserved.