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Thread: How to Copywrite written Material?

  1. #1

    How to Copywrite written Material?

    I would like to think I think creatively, and outside the box, and with my writing skills I have an idea that I would like to present to a company. I cannot go into details here (sorry but this is a public place and I need to keep my idea private for now).

    Still I was wondering how you officially go about getting a copywrite on a written idea and proposal?

    I know anything in "tangible form" is technically automatically copywrited, but because this involves a sale of an idea, I am also required to offically copywrite it. How in the world do I go about that? Does anyone know? Has anyone done this before?

    I have been told a few things so far such as sending the material in the mail back to myself un-opened, which does not sound right to me at all? I have also been told a Notary stamp will make it copyrighted. I'm not sure but I do have a best friend that is a lawyer. If need be I can get his help, but thought I would ask here first.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    I've heard for ever that the copy mailed to yourself, with the canceled stamp, and unopened could be used as proof that it was your work, but I don't know how true it is. I've never heard that it would "make" the copyright though.
    I'd suggest your lawyer friend. He (she) will probably in turn direct you to a Copyright lawyer, someone who deals in this stuff that knows the proper way to get a true copyright.
    A place to start this weekend would be: Should give you some basic information, and maybe a good deal beyond that.
    Good luck. Be sure to let us all know when you get it and are able to divulge what it is. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    The mailing to yourself with a postmark is called a "pocket patent" and does have some validity for the period of one year. It is tenuous at best but does provide a timeline for your intellectual protections. I believe that the Notary stamp and date serves the same purpose. I have used attorneys for IP protection and have written them myself. They are not difficult and if you need some guidance, I have used LegalZoom. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Houston, TX

    I hate to rain on your parade, but forget it. The mailing to yourself (send it certified) is a form of protection that is functional. Another form of protection is to file a copy with the Writer's Guild of America (West) (located in Los Angeles) which charges for the service and maintains a copy for a number of years. Other than that you can file for a copyright which isn't very costly but has some stringent requirements (100% cotton paper as I recall). So far as protecting your idea, that's Bull Stuff. The problems with protecting ideas are just too many to go into here, but is not practical. Your best bet is to sell yourself when you pitch your idea as the only guy around to do implementation and convenience them it can't be done without you.

  5. #5

    Some light reading

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    There was quite a discussion here or at the 'other' forum some time ago. A member is a genuine lawyer-expert on this subject and posted a great treatise on copyright. I'm a writer and have more than a little interest in the subject. Most common areas of confusion come from the 'automatic' copyright and the 'poor man's c'right' of mailing a certified letter to yourself. While it is true that any created work, from a family snapshot to a lengthy novel is 'automatically' protected under law, that protection ain't worth spit in a court. Same with the poor man letter thing. For full, legal protection, go to the Library of Congress website and look for how to apply for a copyright. Professionally, it is the only way to go.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    I'm no attorney so take what I say with a grain of salt. You mentioned "idea" in your earlier posting. A copyright does not protect an idea - a copyright only protects the actual expression. So if you've written a novel, a copyright would give you the right to proceed against anyone who copied your novel. But if someone took the ideas expressed in your novel and wrote their own novel, a copyright is not going to protect you.

    And if the idea is for something that can be manufactured, a copyright is not the proper protection - more likely you'd need a patent.

    I find that the best protection when talking to a company about some new idea is to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). A well drafted NDA will protect your rights and your idea. But, beware, the company who you wish to present to may object to signing the NDA and then you'll have to make a decision about whether to talk or walk.

    Good luck.

    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 10-29-2007 at 12:28 AM.
    Ancora imparo
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    There was quite a discussion here or at the 'other' forum some time ago. A member is a genuine lawyer-expert on this subject and posted a great treatise on copyright...
    And I'd bet plenty of people completetly ignored the expert, and continued posting things things like 'Ive heard....', or 'A friend of mine had a buddy who....'.

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