|I'm creating something I know will be stolen|
...what can I do...
...besides filing a TX for an unpublished work.
I consulted an attorney, and was told that there isn't much I can do besides that.
I consulted a public notary, and was told that the only thing I can do it have a dated printout proving that I had that content in my possession on a certain date.
Is there anything I can do to have a 100% way of proving that I'm the author before I go ahead and put my content up for sale?
I know that my content will get stolen, and I even know who will be the first one to copy it verbatim and start selling it. I also know that it's a compnay in the US (so am I).
Is there any "standard" way of doing things to guarantee that I have an easy way of proving my case?
Why not register a copyright?
Check the prices, they're not all that expensive!
If its an image, look up watermarking. -Larry
|Why not register a copyright? |
That's what I meant by filing a TX.
|If its an image, look up watermarking. |
It's a text.
Beisdes, with an image, you would just need to cut around the border and you would have proof that you own the whole picture, not just the center. The other party would not have it. I do that for all e-books that are based on images.
One way of proving theft is by deliberately placing errors, factual and/or typographical, within the text. Repetition of these in a copied text is then bit of a givaway.
If you register it with the copyright office, as you plan to do, you've already done the most important thing.
Then make sure to put a strongly worded copyright notice on the page, both in the displayed text and as as a comment in the HTML.
That may scare off the casual infringers, allowing you to concentrate on the serious offenders--the ones you can recover monetary damages from.
Then, once you have successfully gone after one thief, post some information about that too.
Hope to sell as much as you can before the copycats get to it.
Nothing ... and that really is the truth ...
You can prepare a contingency and a plan of action if / when it happens, and perhaps take it forward, with all the time, money, effort, that involves...
But truely if it's worth using or taking people simply will ..
My best advice would be, don't let it get to you ;)
Do what you can when you have to.. yet no point stressing yourself over it all IMO
I think you guys are missing the point.
I'm not worried about proving that their content is the same as mine. I'm worried about proving that I am in fact the author and not the other party.
The point of doing this is that when it's time to sue them, they can't argue that it was their content in the first place. So adding typos or putting strong disclaimers is not something that's going to help.
Registering with the copyright office and putting a copyright notice does its thing for statutory damages. But all that happens only if I can prove that I am the author.
I'm worried that the other party might simply dispute my authorship and then it would be up to the court to decide the case. And if it comes to that, I want to have really stong proof that cannot be disputed.
All that is aside from filing and putting notices.
Think of it this way.
I can go to any of your sites, copy your content, file a copyright and then claim that it's my work. What are you going to do then?
Any ideas on ways to prepare proof? I want to do that before the work is published.
|You can prepare a contingency and a plan of action if / when it happens |
Well, what I'm trying to do is prepare everything I can before I publish that content.
So far, I'm planning on taking a printout to a public notary and getting it dated. But aside from that, I can't think of a way to counter an argument like "This is our work and not yours." or "We found it somewhere else without any copyright notices." or something else to that extent.
Yes, we were missing the point. You didn't state your concern clearly, and we didn't think that you could possibly be worried about this -- because what you are worried about isn't really something you SHOULD be worried about.
Registering with the CO doesn't just allow you to claim statutory damages. It provides exactly the proof of ownership that you need--getting a printout dated by a notary is completely unnecessary once you do that. You will have a date of copyright. An infringer can dispute that, but unless they have proof that they originated the material you copyrighted before you copyrighted it, their case would be unsupportable.
No half-decent attorney would allow their client to pursue a case if that was their claim. People may still do it, but they will lose.
Your material will stand up to scrutiny as to originality, correct? Then once you register it, your main challenge will be finding the infringers, not proving your case.
To answer your question:
|I can go to any of your sites, copy your content, file a copyright and then claim that it's my work. What are you going to do then? |
That's not exactly the same situation, is it? But here's what I'd do: I would have all kinds of ways of proving that my article(s) predate your copyrighting of them. Many of them were published in print. Many of them will appear years ago in the Internet archive. I have old versions of the files on back-up disks. And if it comes down to it, I could collect affadavits from regular visitors that they had seen Articles A, B, and C on my site several years before. You wouldn't stand a chance.
|Your material will stand up to scrutiny as to originality, correct? |
Yeah, that's not a problem at all.
|It provides exactly the proof of ownership that you need. They can dispute that, but unless they have proof that they originated the material you copyrighted before you copyrighted it, their case would be unsupportable. |
Are you sure the burden of proof would lie on them?
I guess this is the core of what I was asking.
Would I have to wait to receive the certificate from the copyright office before I can publish the work to be on the safe side?
If it takes several months to get it, and if I publish the work right after I drop the envelope in the mail box, what stops them from copying it and filing themselves?
|Then once you register it, your main challenge will be finding the infringers, not proving your case. |
That's not a problem. The last time it happened I started getting angry e-mail messages from customers asking for a refund because I "sell stolen content that I stole from such and such."
If I don't hear about someone and my work then they are too small of a damage to worry about.
To completely set your mind at rest and get all your ducks in a row, maybe you should pay for an hour's consultation with a good copyright attorney.
But here are my layman's responses:
|Are you sure the burden of proof would lie on them? |
I guess this is the core of what I was asking.
Well, you would have to prove that the content they were publishing was identical or significantly similar to yours. You would have to prove that. But for them to claim that your copyright wasn't valid, THEY would have to prove that their content came first.
|Would I have to wait to receive the certificate from the copyright office before I can publish the work to be on the safe side? |
Interesting question. If you can't find an answer in the Copyright Office FAQ's, this might be one for the attorney.
It won't take several months, but you would have evidence that you had originated the content. They wouldn't. And you would presumably have an earlier date on your certificate. You might wait a month after you registered, just to be on the safe side. Or this might be another question for the attorney.
|If it takes several months to get it, and if I publish the work right after I drop the envelope in the mail box, what stops them from copying it and filing themselves? |
Good luck! You must have some valuable material. I hope you do well with it.
Before you put your text in the public view, email it to a gmail account, hotmail account, your state rep, the president and a few other places. Then if the other person steals it you can show that you were in posession of it on date X. If the thieves can't prove they had posession of it before that date, then they can't prove they wrote it.
How much text are you talking about here?
Thanks. I already got a consultation before, but I'll get another one. At least now, I have specific questions to ask.
Well, meanwhile there are online services which make it unnecessary to email your senator or the president.
Don't know if this helps you, but you may want to check it:
There are other such services, but thats the one that g served on top.
|unnecessary to email your senator or the president |
Are you selling the stuff you are smoking? :)
"unnecessary to email your senator or the president"
Are you selling the stuff you are smoking? :)
Ehm, English is not my mother tongue, thus I might have a lingo problem here. Are you suggesting that I spam this bord for a service which I have a interest in? Not the case.
I am just lurking this forum since some days, found it extremely helpful and found the information given helped this thread.
Or, is selling stuff I am smoking suggesting that my wording "to email your senator or the president" was weird? (Well it is ;) per se, but actually this was just referring to what Moosetick some msgs above proposed.
You are senior her, I am a newbie. I don't mean in whatsoever way to start flaming here. I just do not get your point.
And I don't want to be stubborn, but I feel now like an idiot with my initial reply, and even more because I do not understand the meaning of this "sell the stuff you smoke" idiom...
Well, at least it was within my grasp to sense it was an idiom ;)
To be serious, please, help a non english mother tongue newbie to a) understand this idom and b) what was wrong with my posting?
bcc... your stubbon swiss here again...
Well, I did some further research, and now I understand that my inital posting was naive. I should have done this "research" before posting, my apologies:
Will mailing copies of my original art/writing/photography to myself give me proof of copyright ownership?
There is a method in which some people feel they are protecting their copyright(s) often referred to as a "Poor Man's Copyright":
They will make copies of their written work, photos of their images, copies of their sheet music, etc. and place these copies in an envelope and seal this envelope securely. They address the envelope to themselves and post the envelope; often times they will send it to themselves as certified mail. The idea is that the documents inside the envelope are sealed and when mailed, there is a U.S. government record of the date mailed by use of the cancellation/postal stamp. The envelope is NOT opened but instead put away for "safekeeping" in the event that an original copyright date is required. If there was any legal question regarding who created something first, the idea is that the unopened envelope could be entered into the litigation as "proof" of the origin and date of the work.
However, this idea of a "Poor Man's Copyright" is a myth and not valid in a court of law. The only time copyright litigation can be pursued is when the original creator of intellectual property has REGISTERED the property with the U.S. Office of Copyright (provided they live in the U.S.).
Does the "Poor Man's Copyright" PROVE that the work was created by the date it was mailed? Not in a legal court of law. Again, the only proof (or prima facie evidence of validity) is when the original work is legally registered with the proper authorities. "
I guess now I understand this sell your smoke idiom:
it refers that someone is naive. Right?
Don't worry about it.
It's just that in my opinion, mailing something to the president in hopes that you can get his staff to confirm they have received it on a certain date for copyright purposes is a ridiculous idea.
I didn't ask Moosetick what he smokes cause I know that's not for sale for sure :) But when you quoted it, I just couldn't resist.
So nevermind. Everything is cool.
To the other guys: Thanks for your help. I really cleared a few things today.
Be creative. I'm sure there are a lot of ways to prove both ownership of the material and authorship. Besides, you
cannot allow the possiblility of someone claiming authorship of your works to deter you from publishing them. I think
copyright ownership can be proved a variety of different ways:
1. Register your material with the appropriate copyright office.
2. Have a notary or other of non-partisan person, witness your work.
3. Take a picture of your work and have a third party film processor develop and date your work.
4. Secretly embed your contact details in the text of your article. That could be compelling proof of ownership.
is it really a question of being creative? Actually, and it took me a while to understand that, we are talking bout law. Leave creativity to designers. What bcc needs is expertise in law. He does not need theory but needs to know how such cases are handled in the real live: Be sure, such cases have been sued, ruled and appealed. And at the end of the day, that is what matters. Forget common sense, we talk bout law.
I feel this matter is quite important to bcc, so maybe we should listen to him, he said that he has now enough imput to have a productive 2nd consultation with a specialist. And if this matter is important to him, he needs professional advise.
my 2cents after my previous jump start
[edited by: acersun at 11:14 pm (utc) on Feb. 8, 2006]
|4. Secretly embed your contact details in the text of your article. That could be compelling proof of ownership. |
acersun is right. I'm looking for legal solutions, but this is really creative. Showing to a judge that the last letter of every fifth word on the second page spells out my name could be an original argument.
OK, I don't believe you could eventually pull the president's mail archives if you have to pursue litigation. If you did mail your unpublished work to a variety of places and sources, then you could show a large amount of proof that you were in posession of that work at a certain date more easily. That would only help strenghen a case of two people declaring "I wrote it first".
As far as smoking, I live in America. As far as I can tell, for the last 15 years this has been a no smoking country. Please step outside the country if you must smoke.
Orignal maybe, but maybe i am geting to cynical now... original unless your oponents laywer finds that the 3 letter of every 7th word on the 5th page reads GOD. And asks, if then god was the real author.
bcc. i think it is realy a conflict between having comon sense, and of course your name vs god as author is quite clear. but this is law. and judges. and relations.
I sure think such hidden "textual" watermark isnt supporting, but if this matter would be very important for me, ehm, i wouldn rely on it, only.
Maybe one of the early posts was the most construcivie: just go and have it registered at your copy right office. And particularily ask your conselour what are relevant cases when the authorship for a registered work was disputed.
This will answer all your questions.
my last 2cents befor going to sleep at 0.25 am... creativity is ok, but dont rely on it. Again, common sense and law? A contradiction, very often, also here in switzerland.
[edited by: acersun at 11:24 pm (utc) on Feb. 8, 2006]
|proof that you were in posession of that work at a certain date more easily |
That's exactly what I wanted to have in addition to filing the TX.
And that's why I'm thinking about a possibility of dating a printout with a public notary.
In any case, thanks all. I'm out.