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How to Create a "Poor Man's Copyright"

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Written by bernijean   

how to create a poor man's copyright

Intro: Have you ever written a beautiful poem or some other writing and you'd love to share, but would prefer that no one else shares it as their own? You can easily place a copyright symbol on all your work by using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. After doing this, you can mail the work to yourself. This process is called a "poor man's copyright". A copyright actually exists the moment your work is created, however, if you ever want to bring a lawsuit against someone for infringing on your work you must register with the copyright office.

Items Needed:

Word Processing Program, Printer, 1 postage stamp, 1 envelope, 1 sheet of copy paper

Step 1: At the bottom of your writing, key in a left parenthesis (and then the letter c and then the right parenthesis) without any spaces. In other words, key in the letter c with parenthesis around the c and this will turn into a © copyright symbol.

Step 2: After the ©symbol, key in the year and then your name, here is an example―©2013 Bernijean Beaty. It is also acceptable to write "Copyright 2013 Bernijean Beaty"

Step 3: Although this is not a replacement for registration, if you want proof that this work is yours, simply print a copy of it with the copyright symbol on it and put it in an envelope with a stamp on it and mail it to yourself. This is called a "poor man's copyright". Keep the envelope with your work; this will at the very least, prove what date your work was created.

Tips: To have a registered copyright on file you must file and pay for the copyright. You can obtain a copyright through the Copyright Office online system. To learn how―visit the website at http://www.copyright.gov/eco/ the cost is $35.00 for filing a basic claim online.

Warnings: The fee is higher if filing a paper form. They accept credit or debit cards and electronic checks. The site is normally available 24 hours a day, but is presently closed due to the government shutdown. However, you can still submit a copyright claim to be reviewed when it reopens.

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