Re: Two questions about Copyright notices

Subject: Re: Two questions about Copyright notices
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 16:22:46 -0700



McLauchlan, Kevin posited, and many people replied to:
>
> 1) If your document is created and published in 2009,
> but then gets majorly revised in 2010 (more than half
> the content changes), does your copyright notice say
> "Copyright 2010" or "Copyright 2009-2010"?



Astonishingly, there is a ton of information about copyright online
from the US Copyright Office, and the office is doing some really
great technical writing. In particular, if you start from the FAQ,
you can find just about all the information you need:
http://www.copyright.gov/faq.html

To answer the actual question (and clear up some of the misconceptions
in this thread), a work is copyright protected the moment it is "fixed
in a tangible medium." This is true whether an individual author
creates it, or you create it for a company. It does not matter
whether it is a novel or a computer manual. Copyright is copyright.
The work also does not have to be published or registered for
copyright to apply.
http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf

The actual copyright statement on the work is entirely optional (it
was required before 1989). It is still helpful to include it
"announce" that a work is under copyright, and there's some argument
that including the copyright prevents people from infringing that
copyright. You include the date the work was first created in the
copyright notice. If the work was substantially revised, then that
work is considered a "derivative work," and it gets a new copyright
and a new date. You don't have to include both dates.
http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ03.pdf

It is not true that it is illegal to claim copyright earlier than the
date of publication. You can register your copyright at any time, and
registration will help if you have to challenge your copyright in a
court of law, but registration, like publication, is optional.

IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) so you should check with your company's
legal department in case they have more particular requirements they
want to include, but these are the details as I understand them. I
took a weekend class in publishing law a long time ago and it's some
of the best money I ever spent.

Laura
fixed in a tangible medium

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References:
Two questions about Copyright notices: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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