minstrel: Copyright Mundane Law as of 1997

dd dedy at ionline.net
Tue Jun 24 07:09:11 PDT 1997


I have to differ with you on some points.

> Mundane copyright law states that unless your work is registered with the
> LIbrary of Congress in the United States of America, it is not as
protected
> as it would be if it were -REGISTERED-.

While it is true that it is harder to defend a copyright that isn't
registered with a government body Canadian, International, and I'm pretty
sure American, law recognize an author's copyright from time of creation.
Copyrights are registered they are not conferred.

> Copyright infringement does not work if someone writes a poem and jams
> "Copyright Seamus McConnell 1997" on it. At best, you can claim that it
was
> yours, but you'll have the devil's own problem proving it in a mundane
> court without proper documentation.

The important thing here is the date of the work. If you plagiarize a work
in 1997 that can be clearly dated to a previous year, by another author,
the least you will be is embarrassed, and courts can fine you.

> A work is not copyrighted if it is a story told to others unless the bard
> specifically stands up and says, "This is copyrighted, don't copy it."  A
> song is not copyrighted unless it's produced on readable and
reproduceable
> material.

I think you have some confusion here. While it is much harder to prevent
copyright infringement by live performance i.e.... no records, performance
without permission is still copyright infringement. Furthermore the
requirement for permission rests upon every performer of the work(s) to
research and obtain fair usage of their material. If some doofus around a
campfire doesn't give the author credit or mention the author's copyright
that doesn't release it into the public domain.
 
>  If it was not copyrighted at the time of the plagarism, you cannot sue
for
> damages. ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL MUST BE REGISTERED WITH THE LIBRARY OF
> CONGRESS IN ORDER TO BE COPYRIGHTED BY PLAGARISM  LAWS.

This is certainly not true in Canada and the US is bound by international
copyright laws. If you can prove that it is plagiarism you can certainly be
awarded damages. Registration makes it easier to prove in court, but it
does not grant new rights and protections thats why its called
'registration' (see first point).

> 
> Which takes $20 and two copies of the work. This includes short stories
and
> poems.

Sometimes it can be worth it to copyright a collection of poems at once.

Another trick used is sometimes called the "poor man's copyright'. Seal
your work well inside of an envelope and mail it to yourself. DONT open it
when you get it but store the whole envelope with its postage mark as proof
that the work was in a complete form by such and such a day.


> 
> NEVER NEVER NEVER SIGN ANYTHING THAT SAYS YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
> BELONGS TO ANY COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION unless you're willing to give up
all
> your rights to it.
> 
> 
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> "Sacred cows make the best hamburger."
>    - Mark Twain
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> 
> 
> 
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