Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Copyrights Regurgitated

On my original post about copyrights, Tess mentioned in comments that eCO (the Copyright Office's online form) could take up to five documents and that she had filed three of them for the single $35 fee.  However, I take Circular 1, Copyright Basics, Registration Procedures on page 7-8 in particular, to read that mutliple items can be registered together if they are part of one publication.

If anyone has questions about this, I seriously suggest they contact a qualified intellectual property attorney.

I discussed the matter with another friend R__, who's also pursuing the indie-publication route.  Her view of copyright registration is why bother wasting the time and money.  The people you have to worry about violating copyrights are the hackers who feed the Torrent sites, and the headaches of catching and stopping them aren't worth the $35 for registration.

OPINION: I probably will register my novels with the Copyright Office, more for the thrill of knowing my books are filed with the Library of Congress.  Everybody has a different measure of validation, and I freely admit this is mine.

Anybody else want to offer an opinion as to copyrights or pirates?


  1. I agree that a mere registration of copyright isn't going to stop the torrent thieves. If anything, it'd probably just make them laugh, because they're jerks like that.

    But while it's much less common, there have been instances of more organized, for-profit plagiarism/copyright violation. Janet Dailey and Cassie Edwards come immediately to mind as having gotten a lot of publicity for their thievery, and JJ Massa filed the serial numbers off of someone's fanfic and published it as her own m/m novel, which was just as much a violation even if it didn't make the AP wire. A registered copyright gives you a much larger hammer to wield in court if that happens to one of your works. For myself, if someone stole one of my published stories (or even a chunk of same) and tried to sell it as her/his own, I'd want to go massively punitive on their ass. :/ You can't do that unless you've registered copyright.

    I don't know that I'd bother with short stories, but it's something to think about for novels.


  2. Okay, the Janet Dailey thing I get, but someone's fanfic? Yeesh!

    DH and I were talking about copyrighting my stuff the other night. As he put it, if I don't, I'll be the next Big Thing and screw myself over. Smart guy.

  3. Re: Janet Dailey, you'd think someone with a Name of her own would know better. At least she had the good taste -- if not the smarts -- to steal from Nora Roberts. :P

    Re: stealing fanfic, Ms. Massa obviously thought no one would notice. Most fanfic fans don't buy commercial m/m; they can get all the good stuff they want for free, with their favorite characters. But some do, and someone who did finally saw a commercial novel that seemed familiar. She contacted the original writer, who was understandably furious.

    The thing is, it's not even the case of being a Big Thing. Nora Roberts aside, most of the plagiarism cases I've seen have been someone bigger stealing from someone smaller, and often across genres, or other lines they seem to have hoped would keep them from being found out. If someone with no ethics reads your stuff and thinks it's good, and doesn't think they'll get caught, it doesn't matter that you're not a Big Thing. They'd actually rather you weren't, because they're less likely to be caught if you're obscure.


  4. See? I learn something new every day. Thanks for the heads up, Angie!