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Copyright Procedures – Quick and Easy

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The digital age of cyber publishing and intellectual property, raises many questions about copyrighting. If you have never published anything in your life, you still hold copyrights. If you do publish your work, how do you know your copyrights are in place? Copyrighting is not complicated or difficult, there is a quick and easy way to copyright any creative you produce.

Copyright law in the United States is extremely generous toward the creators and owners of new works. Legal copyright protection is in effect immediately and automatically upon the creation of any “original work of authorship” that is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression.”

In other words, a copyright notice is not necessary for your work to comply with U.S. Copyright law. For example, when authors, webmasters, amateur writers or anyone else submits a creative of any kind for publishing, that creative is automatically copyrighted. No copyright notice is necessary to be legally binding.

The laws are so generous in fact that the notes or scribbles you mindlessly make while speaking on the phone are considered copyrighted material, even if you wad it up and toss it in the trash at the end of the call. This does not mean that copyrighting should be taken lightly. There are significant legal advantages to using a copyright notice.

Copyrights can also be given away in part or in whole and must be agreed to in writing. The details of this are way beyond the scope of this writing. All authors and publishers have taken part in copyright agreements knowingly or unknowingly.

Quick and Easy Copyrighting:

The conventional copyright notice consists of 3 elements. The the word “copyright” or the copyright symbol, the year, and the name of the copyright owner.

Copyright © 2006 [Your Name or Company]

To comply with current copyright law and to copyright any computer generated creative materials follow this formula. First, add the copyright notice as described above to the end of the document. When you have finished editing, save your document as a file.

Finally, print the complete document with the title or file name and the current date. Set these to be printed in your printer settings or use the header and footer options of your text editor. Optionally you can simply type the title and date along with your copyright statement manually.

For example:

Copyright © 2006 Lyle Cochran

Copyright Procedures, Quick and Easy, July, 19, 2006

The printed hard copy becomes your Master Document. This document should be protected at all cost as it is proof that you are the author of the created material.

Other medium:

If your creative is on some fixed and tangible medium other than computer, your hand written signature and date is usually enough copyright protection until you can apply for copyright.


I know that the procedure outlined here sounds too easy, but it is the procedure recommended by the US Copyright Office. This short procedure is valid and will stand on it’s own in litigation. Remember that the original date is key and a hard copy adds considerable weight to ownership.

If you wish to make your copyright bullet proof, you can begin copyright procedures online at the United States Copyright Office. ( )

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