Sunday, July 12, 2009

How to Copyright Your Own Work

Recently, one of my articles was placed on a site without proper credits. It was brought to my attention by this site ( I had submitted my article to them for posting, when to my shock; they informed me that someone else was claiming ownership of my work! After contacting the potential plagiarizing site, my article was immediately given the proper credit with an apology from the owner of the site. It appears as though the owner of the site lets bloggers place what they will on the site without too much concern. He now knows just what a serious problem that can be and is taking steps to enforce blogs to respect author copyright.

This has happened before, which may be indicative of good writing content, but I won't laud my own work. Not too much anyway. What this does bring to mind is just how to copyright your own work. Copyright is an automatic result of anyone placing any original content on the Internet. Behold the key word - "original".
Proving originality can be difficult. This is why there are sites that will act as third party logistics and hold your copyrighted material until you need proof. The problem with these sites is that they charge between $150 and $300 and if they go out of business some years down the road, well you are just out of luck and the money paid.

So, my solution to this problem is to email your original copy to yourself, before submitting it to any site. Once you have your emailed copy, save it to a folder marked 'copyright'. You can open this folder at any time and select an emailed article to show proof of your ownership, since the mailers are time stamped and cannot be edited. The copyright folder also holds the time stamp of when you placed the article in the folder and you can snapshot ( simply press 'print screen' on your keyboard ) a picture of that for more proof, if need be. Just remember to take a copy of your article from the copyright folder when sending it to someone as proof.

This is a quick and fairly good copyright. It is not a legal copyright, but it is proof to any server that you are the original owner of the questionable material, since anyone else will not have a timestamp preceding yours.

The DMCA ( The Digital Millennium Copyright Act ) makes it mandatory that each server becomes the stopgap for copyright infringement. That is, they are responsible to police their clients and if they don't comply they can be held responsible in a court of law.

Copyright infringement is a felony; so don't let anyone steal your work. If Google or any advertiser finds out a site is plagiarizing other people's material, they will drop them like a hot potato! So, stand your ground and make sure everyone knows you are the author of your work.

Mark is a retired communications specialist living in Austin, Tx. As Mark puts it "My wife and I, both, believe in the great benefits of a healthy body and soul." Mark writes for

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