no copyrightI was always taught NOT to use the in my writing. What I write is copyrighted automatically by international agreement. People told me I would look like a beginner if I used this symbol.

While I think my mentors were correct, there are some problems with copyright. In one novel I wrote, I wanted to head each chapter with a quote from Simon and Garfunkle, because they so well portrayed the era I wrote about. I wrote to an address I found in New York and discovered that Paul Simon had bought out Art Garfunkle. The quotes I wanted would cost me over one hundred dollars per chapter. Forget about it. Even though I felt the quotes would promote the work of these artists, I copyrightdidn’t have that kind of money.

I don’t copyright my novels because I know they’re already copyrighted when I wrote them. I used to do that trick of mailing myself a copy of the manuscript and not opening it. That showed that on such and such a date I wrote this book. Besides, my printer copyrights my books.

Screenplays are a different matter. I guess they are more valuable and I have copyrighted with the US government three plays that Mike Oulton and I wrote.

death of copyrightBeginning writers worry about copyright. But no one can truly copy another person. Even if two people set out to write the same story, each has had different experiences and each has different mental views.

The message about copyright? Relax.

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8 responses to “Copyright

  1. I never really thought much about the copyrighting process. I assumed that your works are automatically protected when you are published. This gives me a new perspective on it.

    • Thanks, Mike. In my class I do a little experiment. I ask the students to write a noun and a verb on a piece of paper. I get things like “The cat ate the rat.” I tell students that if I go home and copy that sentence, I’ve broken international law.

  2. So true, Ed. I send all my novels and short stories to myself when they’re finished – I didn’t do it for copyright reasons, but in order to know they were safe if the place burned down – all the backing up in the world won’t save you if that happens because your carefully backed up discs go up in the fire as well. When I update a story, I send that to my address and delete the older one. I do feel better knowing the work, whatever it’s worth, is safe.
    Best to you,

  3. I also do performances and storytelling of my own original work. I have had people come up to me and say they are going to use it. I feel like they are taking something from me. Shouldn’t I get some payment for that? Song writers and playwrights do. It is a means of survival for me to perform as much as I do enjoy it. Can anyone offer suggestions?

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