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Old November 30th, 2002, 01:43 AM   #1
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Formal copyright procedures

What exactly does one do to formally get one's stuff copyrighted? I know it has something to do with the Library of Congress, but beyond that I'm ignorant. If I have a movie, with original music composed by moi, does it all go together? How does all this work? Addresses? Fees?
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Old November 30th, 2002, 02:09 AM   #2
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Josh,

Stop by http://www.copyright.gov/ and download the form(s) you need. Registrations for films fall under "Performing Arts"...the details for that is at http://www.copyright.gov/register/performing.html.

Another way (I'm not sure which way is best) is to register online with the Writer's Guild of America. You'll find the online form at http://www.wga.org/registration/register-online.html.

The info page at WGA says
Quote:
If Iíve already registered my material with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, do I need to register it with the Guild?

Even if you have copyright through the Library of Congress, registering with the Intellectual Property Registry creates a separate legal record for your material. In addition, you may consider registering treatments or drafts of your work-in-progress with our Registry, prior to registering your final draft with the Copyright Office.
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Old November 30th, 2002, 08:58 AM   #3
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Good Info John,

I might add that registering with the WGA is fast, easy, cheap...

And temporary.

It will expire after five years, and it is NOT "the same" as a copyright. It does not provide the same legal benefits or protections. But it is handy, and I use it myself.

In addition to a copyright.
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Old November 30th, 2002, 09:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
What exactly does one do to formally get one's stuff copyrighted?
Your work is protected by copyright the moment you shoot it. Since 1978, when the Copyright Act was amended, works of authorship (which would include virtually all video) are protected upon fixation in a tangible medium, i.e. recorded on tape (whether digital or analog), stored on a hard drive, burned to a DVD, etc. No formalities are required, meaning that there is no longer a notice requirement -- you don't have to include a "C" in a circle, the date or the copyright owner.

You seem to be asking about registration. Registration of a copyright is a prerequisite to bringing an action for infringement (unless the infringed work in question is a Berne Convention work created outside of the US). However, registration is a good thing to do because of a number of legal presumptions which apply, including a presumption of validity and ownership. It also creates prima facie proof date of creation, and entitles the copyright owner to collect elevated statutory damages in the event of infringement.

As someone else indicated, the form can be downloaded from the U.S. Copyright Office website, and is short and simple to fill out. The registration fee is nominal. You will have to provide a deposit copy.
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Old November 30th, 2002, 05:14 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I will keep all this in mind. Right now it's nap time.
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Old December 3rd, 2002, 07:27 AM   #6
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I'm a bit late here, but I'd be interested to know how the copyright office goes about checking original submissions. How do they tell if a work has been submitted before? If I take and Ozzy tune and resample it, or string together some clips from the Terminator, then submit it, how can they possibly tell if it's an original work or not? I'm not planning on doing this. It just seems with the millions of audio and video works out there, it would be impossible to check if a submission is original or not.
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Old December 3rd, 2002, 09:01 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kirk Messner : I'm a bit late here, but I'd be interested to know how the copyright office goes about checking original submissions. How do they tell if a work has been submitted before? If I take and Ozzy tune and resample it, or string together some clips from the Terminator, then submit it, how can they possibly tell if it's an original work or not? I'm not planning on doing this. It just seems with the millions of audio and video works out there, it would be impossible to check if a submission is original or not. -->>>

The Copyright Office does not examine submissions for originality -- only that the application form is completely filled out and a deposit copy has been provided.
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Old December 3rd, 2002, 09:32 AM   #8
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The courts would decide any validity to a copyright infringement.

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Old May 26th, 2003, 03:54 AM   #9
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Anyone know if you can do an ONLINE registration?
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Old May 26th, 2003, 06:30 AM   #10
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To the best of my knowledge you can't.
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Old May 26th, 2003, 07:00 AM   #11
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Bummer - Thank You for the reply.
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