Copyright Registration

When do you throw the book at Content Stealers? is a post on Jim Boykin’s web site about dealing with people taking your site’s content and using as if it were their own. Someone asked him the question of how to deal with these people. He pointed them to some interesting and helpful links about what rights you have and how to go about handling the situation.

The most interesting thing I thought was what graywolf said in the comments. He pointed to the U.S. Copyright Office web site where you need to go to if you want to register your content. This link is for literary works. According to the site:

Literary works may be published or unpublished and include nondramatic textual works with or without illustrations. Computer programs and databases also are considered literary works.

I’m assuming that web site content would also be considered a literary work. Send them a copy of your content along with a payment of $30. The registration becomes effective the day that the Copyright Office receives your materials. You should receive a certificate of registration in 4 to 5 months.

Some questions I have in regard to this are, is it an annual fee, and do they require you to pay it for copyright to be in effect? I was under the impression that if you create it, you own it. I guess the issue is proving you wrote it, and that is why you need the certificate. If it is annual, it seems like a lot of trouble to go through. I think the fee is very reasonable for what you are getting however.