How To Legally Protect Your Writing (The Cheap Way)

By Jennifer Blanchard

Writers everywhere have the same question–how do I protect my work? A lot of times writers worry about someone stealing their work, but don’t have the money to officially copyright it.

Good news…according to Brian A. Klems, the Writer’s Digest Newsletter Editor:

“Whenever you put something in a tangible format—written on paper, typed on computer, chiseled on stone tablets—it’s copyrighted and protected under U.S. copyright law. No tricks. No magic. It’s as simple as that.”

Klems added a post to his Questions and Quandaries blog this morning that gives more information about copyrighting your work (in an official capacity).

Also–keeping in mind what Klems just told us about copyrighting our work–since the burden of proof falls on you if someone steals your writing and tries to use it as their own, it’s a good idea to take the most recent copy of all your novels, short stories (that are in final form or have been sent out for publication), put them all in separate envelopes and have them sent certified mail to yourself.

Once you get them in the mail, don’t open them. I repeat: DO NOT OPEN THEM. Set them aside and don’t worry about them again unless you get involved in a copyright claim/lawsuit.

Since stuff you send through the mail has a “sent date” on it, you will now have the proof you need to win your copyright claim/lawsuit.

Another option is to seal each piece of writing in a separate envelope and then get each envelope notorized. Libraries usually have free notary services available.

Now get to copyrighting…I mean, writing. 🙂

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