Sunday, June 7, 2015

Copyrights: Two Most Important Things to Know

This is such an important topic that I had to repost this article I wrote some time ago for the online publication Writinghood.

Many writers are not fully versed and misinformed about this topic.  The truth, if you can't show you actually did the work, copyrights and other forms of copyrights such as WGA certifications won't hold up in court if you should have to defend against someone plagiarizing or stealing your work.

Copyright Symbols (Photo credit: MikeBlogs)

Getting straight to the point, if you are ever faced with a copyrighting issue the two most important things required are:

1.  Proof of ownership (proof of  actual written/typed work.)

2.  Dates & Times (further prove you actually worked on the material)

Simply presenting a copyright is proof of ownership, but it doesn't show you actually worked on the material.  Law looks at who actually can prove they worked on a project (and the first one to start working on the project) by providing dates/times stamped on the written/typed material.

The great thing is computers date stamp everything.  A great backup to this is if the work is handwritten, jot down the date and time directly on the material and take a picture of it.  It will be worth it in the end.
Please be sure to save all of your computer-generate drafts for every project by adding a number or letter to the file name.  For example, if the file name is tinashortstory, every time you work on this file upon completion, when saving, add a number extension, tinashortstory1, tinashortstory2.  This way progression of the work can be shown as well as the date and time it was worked on.  Otherwise, saving the file under tinashortstory every time will simply override the last draft and not saving both.

In the days of identity theft, stealing someone's material is not hard.  Protect your body of work.