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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Anyone bother to register a website with the Copyright Office?

 1:49 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm curious, even though once a work is created it's considered copyrightable, how many of you have actually gone further and registered your website with the Copyright office? What was your experience?



 1:51 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I will be doing so, since my "website" is really a software product delivered over the web.

It's not a "website" in the traditional sense, but a very complex piece of software accessible over the internet.


 1:53 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi Bluestreak and Welcome To WebmasterWorld!

Great question that I would like to hear the answer from others too. I see a lot those symbols on a bunch of sites. I wonder how many of them are actually registered.


 2:03 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I haven't registered a "website" with the Copyright office, but I've registered several articles, poems, short stories and various other items.

Best advice? Have patience. It's the government. :)



 2:52 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here is a pretty good FAQ on Canadian copyright, but it is international in scope. [patentable.com...]


 2:57 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I wouldnt mind the wait, what irks me is the lack of directions on registering a complete website. Would each web page have to be separately registered (I wouldn't think so, I mean do you separately register every single page in a novel?) :D

From the guidelines the Copyright Office provided on online works, they admit the laws are currently dated and do not specifically address this kind of material. I have a PHP-SQL driven site, but the Copyright Office states that databases are copyrighted separately, which presumes that you need to make two registrations, one for the database, and the other for the website contents. However, the descriptive criteria of a database as given by the Copyright Office doesn't really fit SQL to a "t".

That's why I'm interested to know the experiences of anyone who registered their website. I think it would be prudent and kind of cool gettign a certificate. Then you can sue people left and right for copyright violations as a perverse way of spending your free time :-) *just kidding* >:-)


 3:53 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

See copyrightwebsite.com Someone on this forum (I think) was kind enough to point it out to me, not long ago. They offer a service to burn a CD with the whole website's contents, and submit it to the US copyright office directly by courier. I don't have my certificate back yet from the copyright office, but I did think the service was smooth.


 4:09 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Additional homespun safeguards (better than nothing) are the "poor man's copyright" while waiting. Documentation mailed to yourself certified and not opened when received. Also, screenshots and printouts - especially the Google cache, proof of date on files, etc. Little simple things, maybe not ironclad but sometimes enough to show you're serious if the stakes aren't tremendous.

With one site I had stolen from me, my name was taken off the copyright and replaced as copyrighted to another individual. I sent screenshots to the web host when the site "owner" said "make me" including the cache with my copyright notice in there, as well as additional files I had. I caught the person in the logs snatching the files, so I took a screenshot with the IP number of where the site was moved to. Nothing legal had to be done, the web host (who took the files) made some changes mighty quick.

Some people will try to avoid problems if you convince them they're in for a hassle, but it's not a substitute for doing it the right way, though it's not a bad temporary measure.

brotherhood of LAN

 4:14 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

>poor man's copyright

another thing maybe worth doing is getting it sent under recorded delivery


 4:22 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

brother, it's probably the same principle, just a different postal system. We've got registered and certified mail (different cost) and also a simple certificate of mailing for regular mail for around 60 cents. And I don't know them, but there are international considerations.

It's not a catastrophe for some small sites that can easily be re-done, but for large content sites it's critical.


 4:59 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

The funny thing is I'm more concerned about an evil company swooping down with an army of lawyers to kick my site offline, by claiming content THEY stole from ME was actually their original work. If it could happen to anyone, it would happen to me :)

You know what perturbs me though, is seeing an exact replica of my site on the Internet Wayback Machine, and not only that, but seeing embarassingly UGLY sites I created before I designed my current site. Something about Archive.org ripping every bloody freaking file I've created on God's green earth since the beginning of time, just rubs me the wrong way. I'm gonna have to write them a letter to get my material out of their database. Yeesh!

brotherhood of LAN

 5:08 am on Jun 7, 2002 (gmt 0)


yep, sorry, was referring specifically to the UK postal system I guess. Basically, you need recorded delivery to prove the date of the contents of the delivery! Any other way could have just been someone licking an envelope and claiming it was "made then".

It was suggested to me that this is the way to do it. Only when I came here did I find it was the unviversal "poor man's way" :)

Either way, its a very cost effective way of proving you made/wrote something on a particular date........i'd probably make 2 copies just to make sure!

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