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How to COPYRIGHT stuff?

COPYRIGHT

If you've written some music, or some literature, or any kind of creative work which can be copyrighted like this, HOW DO YOU COPYRIGHT IT?

Well, if it was an invention and you wanted to PATENT it, it would require a lot of legal work and expense involving the Patent Office, but to COPYRIGHT something can be achieved with the minimum of fuss and expense.

In principle, all you need to do is to put the work of art onto some recording media and post it to yourself! Then you have a sealed letter/parcel with a postmark stating legally-accepted proof of when you sent it, and thereby asserting the fact that you created it before that date. If anyone else copies it later and says they were first and that you copied it from them, you can produce the evidence to show YOU were FIRST!

In practice, what you should do is to make three copies of the work, put them in separate packets, keep one of them at home for reference, and post the other two (separately!) to yourself. The reason for this is that the at-home unposted copy is for showing to anyone who you need to (your solicitor for example) without disturbing the sealed items. The other two (sealed) copies are so that one of them can be opened and be conclusive proof whilst still retaining a sealed copy.

This is the method recommended in the book "So You Want to be in the Music Business" by Tony Hatch.

(Apologies for the error in some previous publications of this page where the book was accidentally credited to Tony Hart the artist in pictures rather than Tony Hatch the composer of "Crossroads" and other musical works)

A few other relevant items associated with copyright include: The Linux open source movement, Creative Commons, Shareware and Shareware Inventions, and Image Source royalty-free graphics.

Although you can copyright your works by this easy method, patenting an invention is much more difficult!

Also see Intellectual Property and Copyright where more issues are covered.