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  1. #1
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    Does this way of "copyright proofing" actually work?

    With the recent threads on art-theft and all, I was reminded of something one of my old teachers told me last year. He said that if you put a copy (or the original, if you wanted to risk it) of your artwork in an envelope, with the date and some of your personal information on it (name, adress, etc.) you could adress it to yourself and send it through the mail. That way, the date that your envelope went through the system would be registered. If you kept the envelope sealed, you basically had proof that you owned the artwork, thus proofing any other claims false. This all needed to be done before you actually published the original artwork of course.

    Thing is, this is much cheaper than taking up an actualy copyright, and gives you just as much evidence/proof that you own the artwork - but, providing the case was serious enough, would this actually be considered enough in court. (Granted, 99% of the cases wouldn't go that far... I seriously have a hard time thinking that anyone wanted to go through that much trouble.)

    Anyway, I just thought I would throw this out there. Might be of use to someone, though I realize a lot of people must know about this already.


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  3. #2
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    I know it's a legal way of copyrighting in the U.K. However I'm not sure about other countries.

    In the U.S., it's not. However, anything that you create, unless you are specifically under contract to the contrary is automatically copyrighted as yours.

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  4. #3
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    That, I know. However, from what I've heard, in the most extreme cases that would turn into a "your word versus the offender's" kind of game, which is exactly what you'd want to avoid.

  5. #4
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    Think of it this way, if someone stole your work, the cost of a lawsuit (your lawyer would take a sizable chunk of the settlement, if any) time lost from work and the aggrivation of the whole process would far exceed the $30.00 fee the copyright office would charge you to process the form.

    If you read the form carefully, you should be able to fill it out yourself and the copyright office provides a help line for questions.

    Most questions can be answered by going to the U.S. Copyright Office web site and it is likely to be better protection than clever tricks you heard about from someone who is probably not an expert in copyright or intellectual property law.
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  6. #5
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    I'm not actually going to take out any copyrights, I was merely curious. And anyway, I don't live in the U.S, so unfortunately the US copyright issues wouldn't wholly apply to me. Thanks anyway.

  7. #6
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    Lightbulb

    Well, if it's digital images, keeping source files and such private is a sure-fire way of winning any copyright arguments.

    If someone claims your work as theirs, and all they have is an 800x600 compressed JPG, and you have a 1600x1200 layered PSD, it's quite easy to see who did the real work...

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by figure2
    Most questions can be answered by going to the U.S. Copyright Office web site and it is likely to be better protection than clever tricks you heard about from someone who is probably not an expert in copyright or intellectual property law.
    Outstanding post, especially for members here in the US that are having this sort of problem.

    On a side note, it's a shame that it ends up being the original artist that has to defend oneself in court over copyright violation instead of the other way around. People who steal art need to be dipped in boiling India Ink by their toenails without benefit of noseplugs.

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