With the easy access of the Internet, more people arewriting and creating and displaying their art publicly thanever before. As a marketing coach, I receive many questionsabout copyrights – how to get your own, and how to knowabout someone else’s work.


According to the U. S. Copyright Office, a copyright is “aform of protection provided by the laws of the United States(title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of ‘original works ofauthorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical,artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”

You can see it’s a broad definition. One of the mostimportant things to note is that it’s a misconception thatyou must use a copyright notice on your work, or see one onsomeone else’s for it to be copyrighted. This was requiredat one time, but is no longer.

So, just because you’re looking at someone’s Internetcourse, or reading an article they wrote, and it doesn’thave a copyright notice on it – either on the Internet orhard copy – doesn’t mean it isn’t copyrighted. In fact itis copyrighted the minute it takes tangible form.This has two ramifications. First of all, it’s still goodto use the copyright notice on your work, i.e., ©. You canmake this by going to “Insert” then “symbol” then “specialcharacters” then click on the © symbol and then “Insert” andthen “close.”

Of in a word document, simply type this – ( c ) (withoutspaces between) and it will automatically convert to the ©symbol.

According to the U. S. Copyright Office, the following“works of authorship” are covered:

1. Literary works
2. Musical works, including any accompanying words
3. Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4. Pantomimes and choreographic works
5. Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
6. Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
7. Sound recordings
8. Architectural works

Immediately the minute you create your work in “fixed form”it is your property.

The U. S. Copyright office specifies that all thesecategories should be taken broadly. For instance a mapcould be registered as “pictorial work.” There are benefitsto registering, of course.

But do understand that someone else’s work is copyrightedwhether there’s the symbol on it. Respect the internationalcopyright law! When in doubt, contact the person forpermission.

For more information, go here: http://www.copyright.gov .

And of course always check with an intellectual propertyattorney for legal information.

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, marketing coach, http://www.webstrategies.cc. Ebook writing and launch, web strategies, marketing andpromotion, press releases, web design, article-writing andsubmission. Full-service, consultation and implementation,advice and resources. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for freeezine, put “checklist” for subject line.