Thursday, October 9, 2008

Copyright and Writer's Digest

Many writers, published and nonpublished, look to Writer's Digest for crucial information about navigating the profession. I found myself curious today regarding what Writer's Digest would advise in terms of copyright.

Writer's Digest relies heavily on the true interpretation of copyright law, which states that once you have created something which is tangible, you own the copyright to it. Many of us reading this blog have expressed interest in seeking to register our work for copyright in the final stages before publication, but Writer's Digest says that's unnecessary.

According to Writer's Digest, once a work is due to be published, often times the publisher will apply for copyright on behalf of the author. The author still owns the copyright, but has been saved the financial hassle, not to mention the paperwork required.

A question to my readers: what about those of us as writers who may not seem to ever get closer to publication? It's all well and good that the publisher will handle the details of registering for copyright, but what about those of us without a publisher in sight? It is our responsibility to protect our work, but since the law says that as soon as we create work, we own the copyright, should we even bother to apply for the formal, expensive protection of a registered copyright? What do you think?

Writer's Digest. (2008). Tip of the day. Retrieved October 9, 2008 from


LibraryGirl said...

I'm not sure - I guess I really didn't know that you had to apply for copyright - I thought it was just a given. Looking forward to reading more!

jenmcconnel said...

I think, given or not, applying for copyright really depends on the author...but you're right, it is a given that once you create something, you own the rights to it.