Do you Copywrite your articles?

@byfaithonly (10716)
United States
May 23, 2009 11:49am CST
Like many others here on myLot I write for and publish articles for a wide range of sites such as Helium and Associated Content. I do retain rights to these articles but have been wondering if I should copywrite these articles. I have a series of articles (short stories) that I wrote with the intention of putting into a book someday... I checked and in US it costs $45 to copywrite written material - I'm a starving artist there is no way I could afford that for each article or story. Anyone have experience or knowledge on this? What do YOU do? Have you even thought of this?
8 people like this
16 responses
@peavey (16906)
• United States
23 May 09
You don't have to copyright your material because it's automatic under the law that once it's published under your name or pseudonym, it belongs to you. I have never copyrighted anything I've written and only once did anyone try to steal it. It only took an email from me to change their mind.
3 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
23 May 09
I thought I remembered reading something like that at one time but was several years ago and not sure if I was remembering right or not. So places like AC where the author's name is posted on the articles automatically copywrites that piece? As for my 'claim of theft' I did some major searching online and found this ladies name on several pieces but nothing anywhere's near similar to my poem. Every now and then I check around to see if she has posted it any place but so far hasn't. I did email her back explaining when and the situation underwhich I wrote the poem and never heard from her again.
1 person likes this
@peavey (16906)
• United States
24 May 09
Yes, anywhere it's published creates a copyright, even if it's your own blog. I think the only place that isn't copyrighted is on a public forum, then the material is usually claimed by whoever owns the forum.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
That's nice to know and does relieve my mind a bit thank you.
@mariposaman (2967)
• Canada
24 May 09
First of all the term is copyright, the right to make copies of your original work. Copy write, two words, is the writing of commercial copy. You have probably done this when you ghost wrote some paragraphs for someone, and you worked as a copywriter (one word). The legalities are that when you produce an original work, you own the copyright whether you register it or add a copyright mark © or any other indication that it is copyrighted. It is assumed that something is copyrighted unless there is specific instructions to the contrary. Unfortunately on the internet and amongst the newer generations, they assume it is the opposite, and freely copy everything and get indignant when told it is stealing. The problem comes in when you have to establish authorship. As you know registering it will establish your authorship. I read an article that a person would gather all his photos, pages and pages of these, and register them all at once. This saved a lot of expense as cost to do a collection or a single photo is the same. I would suggest you gather a bunch of your stuff together and do this. You could register it as a collected work. Another woman that had an important website registered copyright of all her text and photographs and sure enough several people stole her works. She of course had legal recourse and got everything plagerized from her removed. Here is what to do if you find someone has lifted your material. http://www.copyscape.com/?example=1 Copyscape provides 5 free searches per month by the way. I will see if I can find a reference article that I saved on copyright. http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/copyright I cannot find it, but I did find the above which you should read. What registered does is give you legal clout when you are suing for damages. If someone steals you work and they make no money from it tends to be a waste of time going to court. There is a lot more to copyright than I can present here. Maybe I should do a Lens or Associated Content article on it, and hope someone does not steal it.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
Oh this is just too funny - of the people who have read this discussion you are the first to point out my error copywrite :) I actually spotted it the minute I posted the discussion but couldn't do anything about it then so figured I would wait and see if anyone noticed. I've been dieing to see who it would be or if it would be spoted ... Hats off to you dear... and thank you so very much for all the information. I am familure with copyscape when I was ghost writing we had another 'author' who was caught plagerizing articles the company paid me to check every single one of 'the articles' he had submitted as his own. They had a paid membership at copyscape and I used it. Out of over 300 articles he had 10 original :( If you write the article please please please do send me the link I would love to read it.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
25 May 09
Didn't know if you would follow this discussion or not but wanted to respond to a couple of your responses on other responses here - this way you'll get it, I think... I see you disagree with using the (C), my question is I tend to post some of my work on my own web site - if I used the (C) on the pages can I do that without having to register or anything. I mean do you legally have to have a piece of paper to use the notice of copyright? Also, I made a quick visit to the site's you've recommended and really appreciate the wealth of information - didn't read all but will be going back to read more.
1 person likes this
@Citychic (4071)
• United States
24 Aug 09
Sounds good, you've offered an interesting set of facts on here concerning copywriting. But as you've mentioned, you've only just touched on the idea because there is so much that we need to know. At one time I was thinking about having some of my poems copywrited, so I had to learn alot. I was thinking about turning them into songs. I still haven't altogether given up on the idea. But nobody is actually keen on giving up the $45.00 odd dollars in order to get their material protected. So what all can you add concerning registering our works or Art. Is that a costly procedure as well? Thanks for your response your comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks also for correcting us on the spelling of the word as it is copywrite instead of copyrightI would hate to think that my great grandchildren might come up to the internet one of these days and happen to log on then they might start to thinking that there great grandmother didn't even know the correct spelling of the word, hee hee hee, that would be a trip. But it does it will help to keep a few of the other mylotters that don't spell too well on their toes. At one point I was seeing so much misspelling and incorrect usage of the english language that i was beginning to think that it was just a trend here on the internet and the cool thing to be illiterate. God bless you and I'm grateful that somebody has actually had the courage to speak up and for what's right. Hopefully won't we won't have to worry about anybody stealing out work if it's written up wrong. Hee hee hee!
@suspenseful (40314)
• Canada
24 May 09
I heard if you put the copyright symbol on your article or story, that marks you as an amateur. It is copyrighted automatically once it is in print. There is also the poor man's way of making sure your work is not stolen by mailing back a manuscript in an unopened envelope that I heard works. I suppose you would have to put it in a safety deposit box or give it to a lawyer who could confirm that it is your name and address and your hand writing and the date would say so. I never thought of doing that, as I am a cheap - I mean a careful person when it comes to money, not even the mailing back the article.
2 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
I have heard that myself some time ago - about putting the copyright symbol spells out amateur. As for the mailing it back to yourself I do seem to remember hearing or reading that at some time but had totally forgotten about it until you mentioned it. I do believe the secret to that is it has to remain 'unopened' the postage stamp on the envelope is the date stamp of the 'authorship'.
1 person likes this
@Citychic (4071)
• United States
24 Aug 09
It is true, you can take your written piece of material and put it inside of an envelope, date it, then mail it back to yourself. This is the cheap man's way of protecting his or her material and the courts will honor it if things every have to go that far. As one responder mentioned he could get a bunch of envelopes, then mail them to himself with nothing inside of them. But what would that prove? Nothing except that he has got just a bunch of empty envelopes. At least if a person has a poem or a short story or maybe even perhaps a playwrite and they want to protect it then they put it inside of an envelope, this gives them some protection, versus none at all. So what if you have to pay 45 cents for a stamp or maybe even a few dollars for that matter, it's certainly worth it. And it would be so much better to have some protection regarding your work versus not having a leg to stand on if you should ever have to go to court. Good luck everybody!
@munhozmib (3851)
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
24 May 09
Hello, byfaithonly. I do not have many articles nor anything like that to copyright, but I confess I'd really love to start writing. The real problem when I start to write is the idea that, as soon as I put it on the web, it will not be MINE anymore. It will start belonging to the world, and I will lose my creation. I don't know how can I copyright simple material, like small texts and poems. You say it costs U$45.00. Indeed, it is not cheap and I do not have that money. But, for that, I'd be willing to work a few months here in myLot and pay for it, assuring that what I write will definitely be mine. Respectfully, Munhozmib.
2 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
You really do need to read some of the other posts on this discussion. From what others have said and I believe is true is when YOU write it, it is YOURs unless you give permission to someone else to use it. Just because it's on the internet does not mean it belongs to everyone - it is still yours if you wrote it.
2 people like this
@munhozmib (3851)
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
4 Aug 09
Yes, but how can you PROVE that it is truly yours? And how can you keep track, knowing that there might thousands of websites copying your articles? Almost impossible.
1 person likes this
@Citychic (4071)
• United States
24 Aug 09
You've posted a very good question my friend, how can you prove that some piece of material is yours? Take for example the slogan, "Just do it" Now just about everybody in the world knows that those words can from basketball famous playing Micheal Jordan. So if I were to take those same words or if anybody was to take them and copywrite them or even add a few things to it, like for example. "Just do it now!" How in the world can Michel Jordan come up and claim that these were his original words. I fail to see how he could prove it. As some of us have been saying the same thing for ages. Heck my Momma used to say the same thing to us back when I was a young kid still wet behind the ears. Because with her it seemed that whenever it came to working. She wanted us to have it down yesterday, hee hee hee! Anyways I would love to hear some from somebody whoever think they might have some kind of any answer or comments to add to this. Over and out.........................Peace!
• Lithuania
23 May 09
45$? really? I thought intellectual property is copyrighted immediately when written, without the need to do anything else.
2 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
23 May 09
Friend above your response says once we've published under our name it is automatically copywritten. I do save all my originals which have date stamp on them so if push came to shove I would prevail.
1 person likes this
@AnythngArt (3304)
• United States
23 May 09
That is terrible about your poem. I can't believe the woman then had the nerve to challenge you about it! I don't think I would put anything creative (fiction or poetry) on the web, personally. I know lots of people do. Perhaps if you feel that you really need to copyright your material, you can submit a group of stories together, every 6 months or year, depending on how prolific you are. Or maybe you can self-publish them (thereby getting a copyright) until you are ready to offer them to a real publisher. The Internet is a double edged sword. There are many good things about it: sharing information, getting in contact with other writers, etc., but then there is the flip side, where people show their absolute worst behavior! It's a shame. Good luck with your writing. I hope you will eventually post what you've decided to do.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
23 May 09
Some of my stuff, stories, I've already posted on AC and helium but want to start promoting them along with other work more and got thinking about the copywrite thing. 99.99% of what I do online is share with others so certainly don't want to 'stop' that. Too often though you are right and the internet brings out the worst in people.
2 people like this
@sjvenden27 (1847)
• United States
24 May 09
That is horrible about your poem... I am a writer just have never published anything... When I was in school I wrote a childrens' book and would have won the Young Authors Award but I did not have the book completed at the time... I have always wanted to find an artist to do pictures that went along with my stories but I have not met the right person yet... Copywriting your written material would be a good idea.. The if someone takes your ideas again, and publishes them, you would be able to get paid for your thought and ideas... instead of sit there in disbelif that someone else is getting paid for your idea...
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
That's interesting - I've never written children's stories but I have an idea for a series of children's stories that I'm planning to start writing tomorrow. I'm really excited but not going to share these online - am going to go all the way and try some printed publication first.
• United States
24 May 09
I dont blame you there... The reason why I havent found the right artist yet is that I need one that can draw for children.. Most children's books have great pictures and that is what attracts the child's attention, not the story itself... Unlike writing for young adults or adults where pictures are not exactly neccesary.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
Oh I have thought of that and actually have a ton of photos I've taken with these stories in mind - example of what I want. Hard part will be I have pictured already exactly what I want but have some art back ground myself and have a niece who is a wonderful artist. Between the two of us I know I'll be able to get what I want for the stories.
• United States
23 May 09
Once you write something it is already copy righted material. You immediately own the copy right. You should begin marking each as (C) by you and the date. Then you need to register the material. To save money, put them in a collection and copyright it as a "work" that way all of the contents are copyrighted under that title, but the copy right is then registered with the library of conress.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
That's a good idea doing it as a collection but I wonder if I would need to have it complete - right now I'm doing a story here a story there. If I had to do that I would have to wait until it was finished and at that time I'll be looking for a publisher or checking into self publishing. From what you've said though as well as others I think as long as I save my originals with date stamp from MS I can prove I wrote it and anyone else claiming it will be in big trouble.
• United States
24 May 09
Yes, a "poor boy's copyright" will stand up in a court of law! You can easily self publish too. Even if you self publish registering the copyright is a good idea. Just save up a "book's worth" how many you want. Give it a title of some sort and register it. As long as you put a copyright notice on everything you write it is protected and if someone tries to use or steal it.. if you have the (C) notice on it then they will be in trouble. If you do not put the notice on the item, they can claim they did not know!
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
"poor boy's copyright" I like that well 'poor girl's copyright' I will have to remember to add the (C) to my work. Thank you so much for your information.
@KrauseHome (36750)
• United States
24 May 09
Personally I have always wondered this as well. I know I would hate to put something somewhere and then see someone else post it somewhere else knowing that they made $$ off of it as well. I would think there would be more ways for us to get copywrite without having to pay out a lot if money for sure. Very good question.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
Well, from what others have said it's copywritten as soon as you write it. I know on the internet there are always going to be those trying to get something for nothing - there've even been people who plagerized myLot discussions and responses that's sad.
• United States
24 May 09
I think the reason why there is some money involved to get a copy right is to keep people that are just trying to use the system out... Copy writing everything so then we can not say anything at all, for the fear of it being copyright infringment.. It really stinks though for people that really have good ideas but no money to protect them... I think there would be a good way of protecting both the intergite of the writer's gulid and us the people who can not afford it... Make like a club that you have to pay a flat fee of so much, then you could have so many copy rights a year... after verification.. meaning someone just putting some junk together to copy right. Happy writing to all..
1 person likes this
@Eskimo (2317)
27 May 09
I always understood that everything was automatically copyrighted to the author, however when writing articles for sites like Helium or Associated Content, you will need to check their terms and conditions to see if you are transferring your copyright to them if they agree to publish it. One way of proving copyright is to deposit a copy with your bank or solicitor, signed and dated by them. It is unfortunate that in this day and age that people do copy things which are available on the internet. I would quite like to write some stories for publication, but I don't know of any sites which pay U.K. authors, I don't think either Helium or Associated Conted pay in the U.K.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
27 May 09
That's what others have also - that it's automatically copyrighted to the author unless other agreements are made such as ghostwriting then the payee would have the rights. I don't know about AC or Helium paying writers from the UK
@pitstryke (310)
• Philippines
24 May 09
i dont do copyright since where in the internet world all works and articles are easy to be copied and paste..so i think it is not necessary..
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
But that is exactly why you should copyright your material - it's one thing if you give permission for someone to use your work but a totally different thing to have it stolen. Just because it's on the internet does NOT mean it belongs to everyone in the world - it's there for them to read, not to claim as their own.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
24 May 09
I do copyright all my articles and it is priceless and being copied is so unfair because that us written by me and not others.When others take it and they get the credit instead of you that make me feel so pist and angry.It is so unfair to see them easily gets everything while we do all the work..
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
That is good that you copyright your articles - I don't think there is anything worse than stealing someones writing, I mean for me at least my writing is my heart and soul and for someone else to take it as their own is like taking my life from me.
@paid2write (5202)
24 May 09
You do own the copyright to all your writing. What you may not have is full rights. When you register at Helium you agree to giving them non-exclusive rights to articles you publish on that site. If you sell an article in the Marketplace, that is different because you agree to give exclusive rights to the purchaser, and you cannot publish it anywhere else. Some sites require first publishing rights, and then you can republish your own work or allow it to appear on another site. Some sites require you to give them full rights to your work, so you cannot offer it to anyone else. You need to check and understand the rights you agree to, whenever you register at a writing site, before you submit your work there. Otherwise you may find you no longer own rights to something you wrote. A print publisher may reject any work that is not exclusive and has already been published on the internet.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
24 May 09
I have thought of that more and more - I write for both helium and AC each having their 'special needs'. As I prepare to write for 'print' I will be sharing less and less on those sites merely because of the time available for writing.
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
13 Jun 09
I confess I don't really know the answer to your question, but I am quite curious to read this whole discussion so I decided to come in an post a response just to tell you that I think that copywriting one's work is a very good decision. Just hope that you can find an option that you will be able to use without the higher cost.
1 person likes this
@Citychic (4071)
• United States
24 Aug 09
hello friend, pm me and I will tell you a little secret. I notice that noone else has offered this piece of advice. Been reading a few of your comments over here. Anyhow just pm me and ask me on the pm, what's the secret in reference to copy writing. Wouldn't want to expose it all up here on the internet, as somebody might want to steal it. Just been here visiting your page and I'm really enjoying everything and learning a lot. Hope to hear from you soon. PS: If I were that lady who stole your poem I would be so ashamed of myself. I hope that she will not be able to sleep well at night, knowing what she did was wrong. Makes me wonder what is this world coming t?
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
13 Jun 09
I confess I don't really know the answer to your question, but I am quite curious to read this whole discussion so I decided to come in an post a response just to tell you that I think that copywriting one's work is a very good decision. Just hope that you can find an option that you will be able to use without the higher cost.