5 Things you need to know about copyright:
1) If you made something original, you already own the copyright!
Copyright is the system which gives the creators of original pieces of work such as books, songs, photographs, software etc. the exclusive rights to control the use and exploitation of these works.
Copyright comes into effect at the point of creation, automatically!
You are automatically the owner of the copyright on any original works you create, but the problem arises when someone infringes your work and you have to prove that you were the original creator. Without independent, third party verification that you were the original creator, defending your copyright is unlikely to be successful.
That is where ProveMyCopyright.com comes in! When you are a member of the service, you can upload all your creations to your account and our unique "Digital Fingerprint" and "Timestamp" system creates an independent record that you are claiming your rights associated with copyright at that particular date and time.
2) There is an international convention that ensures your copyright is recognized in 163 countries around the world!
As of 2008 there are 163 countries which have signed up to what is known as the "Berne Convention" which is the international agreement on copyright, the basis of the copyright laws.
Put very simply, it means that you get the same rights as far as copyright is concerned in any other country as you do in your own.
Most countries are members including all the U.S, all of the European countries, Australia, Japan, China, India and many more. Want to know if your country is covered by the agreement? Just look to see if it is marked in blue on the map below (source: Wikipedia)...
3) Your copyright will last for the rest of your life plus a long time after!
The copyright that you own on your original material lasts for a long time. The actual amount of time differs from country to country, but for all Berne Convention countries, it is at least the lifetime of the original creator plus a period more (normally 50 or 70 years).
For example in the U.S it is the liftetime of the creator plus 70 years and in the U.K plus 50 years.
4) You do not even need to mark your material with the copyright symbol ©...
While it has historically been a requirement in some jurisdictions to include a copyright notice on a work in order to be able to claim copyright over it, the Berne Convention does not allow such restrictions, and so any country signed up to the convention no longer has this requirement. This means that you do not actually need to mark the material with any symbol.
However, we at ProveMyCopyright believe that you should always state your claim to copyright as another simple method to deter those who would rip you off. If someone knows you have registered your claim with us, they will be less likely to steal your work.
That is why we give our members special graphics and copyright statements that they can use with their works, embed on their MySpace, Facebook or web-pages etc. as another deterrent to thieves.
Just another benefit of being a member of the ProveMyCopyright.com community.
5) Do not rely on the "Poor Mans Copyright" !
One of the biggest myths about copyright is what is called "Poor Mans Copyright" where individuals think they can prove they were the original creators of a piece of work, simply by mailing it to themselves in a sealed envelope and not opening it until they have to prove they were the original creators.
However you choose to protect your work, please do not rely on this myth.
Simply placing a work into an envelope and mailing it to yourself does not prove ownership. You sign no forms, make no statements and offer no proof of creation. People mail things that they do not hold the copyright to all of the time and the courts know that.
Secondly, envelopes can be steamed open and postmarks can be smudged, altered or unreadable. It is too easily faked so that any decent lawyer will be able to discredit it without difficulty.
Thirdly and most importanty, it is not independent confirmation of your ownership. You are in control of the material all the time and no other third party is verifying it. What would stop you from mailing an open envelop to yourself and then just sticking in any kind of material at a later date? The Poor Mans Copyright myth just does not stand up to scrutiny.
You need independent, third party proof that you were in control of the copyright material at the date you claim. This is what ProveMyCopyright.com was designed to do...
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