The Why’s and Why Not’s of Copyright.
I’ve been surprised by the differences of copyright offered in the countries an Author resides in, along side how long it can take to get Registered Copyright, especially in the USA. So what is all the fuss about, why do some authors go for registered and other, like myself, don’t bother.
Well the answer to why I don’t bother with registered copyright is because it isn’t an option here in New Zealand. According to research I’ve done we only have what some authors call ‘The Poor Man’s Copyright.’ So are we in New Zealand as protected by International Law as others. Yes we are. So why is registered copyright so important in the USA? Why is it so slow?
In the UK they do registered copyright online. I have yet to establish if anyone world wide can apply, or if the author has to be living in the UK. Research is ongoing.
In the USA, you can apply for registered copyright either by yourself or through a copyright lawyer. I have two lovely authors who have proceeded or are proceeding through these different channels. Their experiences vary.
Registered Copyright via a Copyright Lawyer. Here is how it works.
First you need to find yourself a Copyright Lawyer who will assist you with your application to the Copyright Office (USA). There are many out there, and you need to find one which you can afford and understand. Nobody wants to get lost in with copyright lingo.
So you have your Copyright Lawyer. As with any meeting or appointments you will need to be timely and have all the documentation you need to send a final draft copy of your manuscript. There will be documents to fill in and sign off as the author after which your Lawyer will send it in.
First your manuscript will have to be accepted by the Copyright Office, after which it will take a minimum of five months to get your work seen and approved. Once your book is approved the Copyright Office will send you a letter with all the details which you need to put in your book prior to publishing.
Lastly, don’t forget to pay your Lawyer fees.
A scenario which can happen to all authors.
Ms A has a copyright. Ms B does not. Both stories are VERY similar (even in just one key aspect). Ms B sent her own material to herself through the mail and email giving herself what’s call “the poor persons copyright”. Ms A and Ms B both end up in court against each other. Even if Ms B finished her material first Ms A would win in court because she has an official document saying the material is hers.
Registered Copyright without a Lawyer
The website below has easy steps and forms for you to follow. It takes 3-8 months for registered copyright without a lawyer. It costs $35.00.
So what is best to do? Below is a link to the Berne Convention which was first pulled together in 1886. It makes an interesting read about Copyright. Registered or not.
Poor Man’s Copyright – International Laws
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to know more. I’d love to know why some countries don’t offer Registered Copyright. Let me know. I love to learn more about copyright. Thanks