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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old November 26th, 2002, 08:40 PM   #16
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Bill,

Re: " regarding the so-called "Poor man's copyright" of mailing a copy to yourself. It's useless. It has no value in court. And here is the reason:...."

This is how it is done to prove it's your work. To copyright your work, all you do is write, your name, date and the word or symbol, copyright. Then you double register it, and leave the envelope or package sealed. This is how it is done, Bill. Trust me. I've done it 100 times, but then I write for publication.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 09:57 PM   #17
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Frank,
I believe you've done it a hundred times. I don't doubt that many people would accept it as valid. And if they do, then it's not a problem.

But it has no legal merit. And in the end, it's will take bona-fide registration that will allow you to get damages.

But then I have to deal with a copyright lawyer every day of my life. I understand copyright issues better than I would like. I understand the work is protected the moment it is fixed in a tangible expression. And I've been involved in lawsuits over things I've written. And yes, I've written for publication.

Don't take my word for it. Ask a copyright attorney.Or check out the January 2002 issue of Computer Videomaker Page 56 "Copy Protection" written by Mark Levy, a copyright attorney.

"The so-called poor mans copyright"-mailing a copy of your work to yourself to obtain a postage date - is not adequate to secure registration, and cannot be used in a court of law to support a case of copyright infringement.' (2nd paragraph)

I'll put my money on postage to the copyright office. I would hate to see someone lose a case, thinking all they needed was the poor man's copyright.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 10:23 PM   #18
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>I don't doubt that many people would accept it as valid.<

Nope. A laywer, a book printer, an agent, a writing teacher..., will all tell you different. Sorry. This is the way it's done here---and it's valid in court.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 10:37 PM   #19
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Frank, do you see what he is saying? If your dishonest, you mail the envelope without sealing it. Then you insert a faked article etc. and lick the envelope after the fact. Then claim you are the originator because here is the sealed (sealed after the fact), mailed, dated envelope that proves you are the copyright holder. If they accept it in Canada, fine. But US courts don't uphold the validity of a self mailed copy.

Jeff
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Old November 26th, 2002, 10:43 PM   #20
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I agree, but remember it was dylan that started this thread, and he is in canada.

Does Canada take the PMC as acceptable in court?

Just Curious.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 12:39 AM   #21
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Look it. I understand CANADIAN copyright law. My wife is is a lawyer! I work with copyright.

Do you know what "double registered" means? IT has to be sealed. If it's not, CANADA POST DOES THIS for you. Come on. A double registered letter is a legal, THE LEGAL, way of mailing, recognized 100% in any court of Canada.

PS: e-mail doesn't count.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 12:52 AM   #22
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OK, ok, let's accept that some things are different in Canadian law than in the US and move on.

Going back to the original problem. That fact that I own the rights to my material isn't even in question. I would think all the computer build files would be enough to prove it anyway in my case.

So anyone have any other suggestions as to what I can do besides taking the guy to court?
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Old November 27th, 2002, 03:46 AM   #23
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I doubt there's anything you can do besides take him to court. If the duplication was done on a large scale, then the police would certainly act. But..., there's no harm in contacting the police. You never know, they might act on it.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 07:26 AM   #24
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Frank,

Pretty funny, we're both married to copyright attorneys...!

Yeah, copyright law is national, (Even if violations can be international) and what works in Canada, will not hold up in a US court. And since Dylan is in Canada, his recourse will be different.

But Dylan should definately do something. At the very least, get someone to write a 'scarry' letter to this guy. I'll go back to my first suggestion, there is probably some sort of "lawyers for artists" organization that will do this for low/no charge.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 08:24 AM   #25
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For those of you married to attorneys, do you have an idea of what it would cost to draft a Cease & Desist letter? Seems to me that Dylan's first course of action should be a C&D, if it's affordable.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 08:36 AM   #26
 
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This story is very infuriating. I got into a thread with several rippers over at VCDHELPER.COM. While this site has some technical merit, the people over there don't see anything wrong with stealing material. There's a consensus in the USA that stealing from big corporations is OK...and even admirable. They don't get that there are individuals that suffer. A sad state of affairs. Sorry to hear you've been victimized, Dylan.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 08:47 AM   #27
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So what exactly is the process they use to make tapes un-copiable? You know, the ones that mess with the picture and audio when you try to copy the tape? Is it expensive?
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Old November 27th, 2002, 09:17 AM   #28
 
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Most, if not all, techniques can be hacked. It's like locking your house. If someone really WANTS to get in, there's always a way. If the intent is to stop trivial, everyday theft, like this experience, the cost of protection schemes are prohibitive.

The best policy is to include a watermark on every frame...inconspicuous....small, down in the lower corner, much as cable TV stations do to protect their broadcast material.
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Old November 27th, 2002, 09:26 AM   #29
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Chris,

I've learned my lesson, and will preface all my comments by the fact that I am speaking about life as it is in the U.S. ...

Legal costs can vary greatly. Depending on the depth of complexity, and the fees charged by the attorney. My wife works for a "Very Big Corporation", with international clients... I couldn't afford her if I had to pay her billing rate! Nevertheless, she does do work occasionally pro-bono, and works with the Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts. As I said, Dylan should look for a similar organization up in Canada. (Frank, would certainly know if one exists, and what it's called.)

Yeah, it gripes me that people think it's cool to rip off your work. Like I said, I've gone through the 'battle' in court. And while it's true that some people can be "judgement proof" (that is, so poor they will never be able to pay the judgement against them.) It is necessary to fight the good fight, to show that you are serious, and willing to step up to the plate. This does act as a deterrent.
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Old December 8th, 2002, 06:57 AM   #30
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One way to handle these issues would be to form an organization for small independent video producers whereby said producers could pool their resources to i) persue legal action in copyright matters on behalf of its members (obviously not every case could be brought to court, but there would be a certain demonstration and deterent effect); ii) lobby state governments to pass laws protecting the product of small video producers.
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