Monday, December 9, 2013

You Need Protection...It's Cheap And Won't Cost A Kneecap

I hope you survived the ice storm, and the winter storms that have crossed the country this past weekend.

Kinda puts a crimp in your Christmas shopping, doesn’t it?

You don’t want to buy a gift that’s easily breakable, because, if you slip and fall on your…padding…you might break the gift!

I hope you spent the weekend expanding your descriptions, and focusing on what you want to convey to readers with your writing.

Today, I want to talk about protecting your work.

While your writing is copyrighted from the moment of creation, it’s still a good idea to submit it to the United States Copyright Office, and register your work with them, especially before you start submitting your written creation to magazines, or publishers, or even to Amazon for the Kindle or CreateSpace.

Simply go to and click on “Electronic Copyright Office”.  Follow the steps for online submission.  I’ve always done the electronic submission, because the cost for registering your work is only $35.00.  Normal paper submission, sent through the mail, is substantially higher.  I’ve always gone for the bargain.

Once you’ve followed the steps, and paid your fee, they will ask you to upload an electronic copy.  It’s easy to do…just follow their steps.

Once complete, you’re protected with the full faith and backing of the United States Government, and their copyright laws.

That, of course, is the process for writers in the United States.  The rights for your work are yours, and will stay yours, for your lifetime plus seventy years.  So, if you’re as old as I am, you’ll need to write a will specifying what happens to the rights of your work after you’re gone.  You don’t do that, of course, with the Copyright Office.  You find a “bloodsucking lawyer”, to quote Sir Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park, and they’ll draft your wishes for all to know.

Another word about copyrighting your work:  The Copyright Office will mail you a certificate anywhere from three to six months after you’ve registered your work.  Keep your certificate in a safe place.  While your work is registered with the Copyright Office, even if you lose your certificate, it’s still nice to have to “whip out” and show if needed.

In the meantime,

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

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