Writing About Copyright

Copyright is kind of interesting. I’m pretty sure everyone knows about it even if you don’t give the slightest crap. It’s the thing that gives a creator the legal right to use and distribute it however they wish and shows that they have the legal rights to it and that they own…whatever it is they made. And I could talk about copyright infringement and all that fun stuff, but I’m not a lawyer and it’ll kind of bore me and you.

So let’s talk about my experiences. When I first got into the creative writing mood, I think my mom would say I would have what you could call a bad habit of sharing my ideas and work willy-nilly. And that if I were to share it, and somebody were to make a buttload of money on what I had planned, I had nobody to blame but myself. But in school, I took a class on legal basics for filmmakers, and then I looked online a bit, and I discovered something mind-blowing:

In the United States, once you have the work in a fixed medium, such as written on paper or typed into a word processor, the copyright is yours. And you don’t even need to put a copyright symbol or an All Rights Reserved spiel on the thing. Isn’t that amazing?

The only thing is that you can’t copyright ideas or plans out outlines. And you actually have to register formally if you want to take somebody to court for copyright infringement. Those things I understand, mainly because it’s evidence of authorship that goes beyond family and friends.

So what does this mean for someone like me? Well, I have some short stories on an external hard drive, a screenplay that’s been published but hasn’t gone anywhere near someone that make it an actual movie, and some chapters of a book going for me, so there’s that. And if I ever do get to a point where I can do something, it’s off to registering. And registering. Aregisteringing.

Though the big thing that’ll determine the effictiveness of my copyright navigation is if what I make is even worth stealing.

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