I’m still surprised by the number of writers that I speak with who when talking about their latest written project will say, “Yeah, I’m finished, but I didn’t copyright it yet.” And in my mind, I am thinking, “Why the hell not?”
HOW TO COPYRIGHT YOUR WRITING
In a recent class of TV writers, we were debating registering screenplays vs. copyrighting. That’s a whole ‘nother story, but the bottom line is you should always copyright your work.
Since going digital, the US Copyright Office allows you to set up an account and upload all of your files and make payment online. The minute that you send your payment, they send you a receipt immediately. This is great because it gives you an instant record of when you submitted the material. Now, I will say they are about 6 weeks out in sending the official copyright certificate, but in a court of law you will have proof of the date and time that you submitted your material. As of this post, the fee to copyright a book was $30.
4 Reasons Why You Should Copyright Your Material
- It provides legal standing that you created the work.
- It gives you peace of mind when submitting your material.
- It reminds you that you are a serious writer.
- It reminds you that your work should be taken seriously.
The Steps of How To Copyright Your Writing
- Visit the US Copyright Office
- Login to the eCo System (If it’s your first time, you’ll have to create a User ID & Password.)
- Go through the steps on the site which identify the material you are registering, the author, etc. It’s really fast and easy.
- Make an electronic payment.
- Upload your document/ file.
- Receive your email from the Copyright Office.
- Put your email in a safe place. I recommend printing it out and placing it in a file. But, also keeping an electronic copy on a hard drive or disk.
I’ll give you one last tip, if you are concerned about the $30 cost for each project. You can copyright a series of projects together. Say you’ve written 50 poems. 25 poems are slated for the book, “Butterflies.” And, another 25 poems are slated for the book, “Flowers.” Instead of copyrighting those books separately, you could copyright the collection as “The Poem Collection of Butterflies and Flowers” and put all 50 poems under one copyright.
I hope this tip is helpful. I encourage writers to copyright all of their work mostly for legal standing and peace of mind.
If you have a specific writing question that you’d like me to answer, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll reply and maybe even put it in a future blog.
Peace & Love,