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Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
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Profile of ddyment
Adam wrote:
Getting copyrights through the US government...

One doesn't "get copyrights" from the government; one registers them there, which is a different thing entirely.

... I know that you are covered from the day you send in the paperwork

This is incorrect; copyright is in force from the time the work is published, which has nothing to do with sending in paperwork.

I have found a better way. The writers guild offers a registration process...

A better way to what? Protect the work? I don't think so. How does this protect the work? In a court of law, only a copyright will be effective. It's true that having registered that copyright will make it easier to establish its validity if the publication date comes into question; should that prove to be the case, however, only registration will be helpful. All the other often-heard ploys (mailing it to yourself, "registering" it with others, etc.) have not been upheld by courts.

... Doug
"Calculated Thoughts" now at The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Adam Grace
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Profile of Adam Grace
I agree
Andy Leviss
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Inner circle
1179 Posts

Profile of Andy Leviss
Adam, let's not play semantics. You said you were covered from the day you filled out the paperwork for the registration, which implied that the copyright was not in effect until you filled out the paperwork. This is incorrect. You do not have to fill out the paperwork at all to hold the copyright; the mere act of creating it is enough. The reason for registering it is to gain a legally valid proof, as well as additional damages against any violators in court.

Actually, though, Doug is partially incorrect, too. Publication has no bearing on copyright. The work is copyright from the moment of creation, not the moment of publication; a work needn't be published to be protected by copyright.

I'm not a lawyer, but unless you can show me court rulings that say otherwise, I have to agree with Doug. A Writers Guild registration is NOT equivalent legally to registering the copyright with the gov't. There are certain rights you get as far as being able to sue for copyright violation and what damages you can collect if you win that you can ONLY get by registering with the government.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.

Enjoy your peace (not "piece") of mind while you've got it, because if you end up having to go to court over it, you'll find out exactly how little it's really worth.

If you want confirmation of receipt, there's a much less expensive and more reliable way to be certain that the Copyright Office got your papers. Just send it via Certified Mail with Return Receipt. It'll cost next to nothing for peace of mind that's not a false peace of mind.

With all due respect,

P.S.-Assuming you've filled out the forms properly and included everything you're supposed to, it shouldn't take a year; the time varies depending on how busy the office is, but they tell you to expect your certificate of registration in four to five months.
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Adam Grace
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That's a good idea Andy.
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Loyal user
234 Posts

Profile of ABlair36
Something I've considered is to videotape myself in front of a TV with CNN on it and having a closeup and a date and then changing the channel to another channel that has the date, maby even go through 5 or 6 stations. Just make sure you have a camera that can videotape TV's and that you prove that it is not just a tape being showed.
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20518 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders

There are some real problems trying to protect your act with videotape made in front of the TV with CNN on.

We are magicians. We can fake that in a heartbeat. All we need is a video of CNN to run on the TV whenever we want. (You can buy that.) Then we can go back for decades. (If it would work, I have had some Ph.D. course work in film and TV production that would be worth a lot more than it really is!)

Courts (even international courts) are not really very forgiving about not using established procedures for protecting intellectual property rights. They will protect the existing system first. They expect us to use it or change it before using it. Ignoring it is a very dangerous game.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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