Many people often wonder whether to copyright their work, and the best way in which to do it. So I’m going to help you.
Okay, first of all, what is copyright?
Nice and simple. Like a patent, trademark, and any design that can be copied, copyright is an intellectual property; also known as ‘IP’, and gives you all ‘rights’ to your work and protects it from copyright infringement.
Now I could go on and on explaining all the different avenues, but as this is based at writers, I will stick with novels and screenplays.
You’ve written a novel (fiction or non-fiction), short story, or poem, and you want to send it off to an agent, manager, or publisher. What should you do first? That’s right, copyright it.
Whoa there fiesty one. First check you live in a Berne Convention Country. 162 of the 190 countries are signed to it, so chances are, you are.
Now you can register your work with an organisation. Now there are various ones both in the UK and US that I use.
US pilots and screenplays I use WGA (Writers Guild of America) West. I also register my synopsis here. I have never had a problem and the service is very prompt and efficient. There is also some cool information on their website.
For my UK pilots, screenplays and novels, I use the Intellectual Property Rights Office.
N.B. If you are a subscriber to firstwriter.com you can benefit from a 10% discount when you start the registration process through their site. If you are already a Firstwriter subscriber, click here. If not and want to, click here first.
There is usually a charge, approximately £20/$40, to register work and you should be issued with a certificate, although these can take up to six months to be delivered.
Although I’ve never registered a novel with a US copyright organsisation, more information may be obtained at the US Copyright Office.
I’ve tried to keep this post as simple as I can, but if there is something you don’t understand, put your query in the comment box. Likewise, if you’ve had any dealings with any of the organisations listed here, good or bad, let me know. Maybe you use other companies. If so, let me know them too.