RE: Is your documentation copyrighted?

Subject: RE: Is your documentation copyrighted?
From: "Backer, Corinne" <CBacker -at- glhec -dot- org>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 13:38:37 -0600

Maggie wrote:
//
..Or in the case under discussion, the owner is the company who owns the
manuals you write. The (c) statement is a formality and a reminder. It
isn't "more official" than if you left it off...
//

Trish wrote:
//
..Another common and extremely cheap and easy way to copyright your stuff
is to simply stuff it into an envelope and mail it to yourself. DON'T OPEN
THE ENVELOPE, when it comes in. It's the postmark that proves that you were
the first to smith those words...
//

My situation:
I've not copyrighted any of our stuff (paper manuals, PC-based application
help, web-based application help, intra/internet content). We're a student
loan guarantor, and the business is quite competitive, but not cut-throat as
far as documentation goes. Meaning, I wouldn't ever expect another company
to steal our stuff, as the really "theft-worthy" items would be more likely
data flows, system architecture explanations, mainframe processing edits,
etc. Our actual procedures are so dictated by federal regulations that all
the agencies more or less do things the same way.)

Questions:
1. In your opinion, do I need to worry about officially applying for
copyrights? (I'm in the US)
2. If I don't go through the official gov't process, would Trish's method
cover us in a dispute?
3. Also, if I don't complete the official process, can I include copyright
information in my manuals?

We do have a lawyer on staff, but he's the CEO and I don't chat with him
regularly. ;)
Thanks for any insights you can provide.
Corinne




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