View Full Version : Copyright question
01-03-2009, 05:47 PM
Hi, happy new year. Well my recipe book is finally pretty much finished. I gave copies to family for Christmas but haven't had time to hear about what they thought yet.
I'm ready to sell it except for copyright questions, I read that anything you make is automatically copyrighted but my uncle at Christmas said that's worthless, is it true? He said I should go to USA to some publishing/editing place or something, I really prefer not to do that.
In any case, I wrote this mainly to help others, not to make money, but some extra income would be nice.
Am I safe by just putting my own copyright on it and selling it?
01-03-2009, 05:57 PM
Thing is, recipes do not fall under the same restrictions as your typical copyright either.
Example: I could take your exact ingredients, make the same thing, and as long as I tweak the directions a tad, don't use any personal stories you've put with the recipe, I can still publish it as my own. It's true. I could add my own personal story with the recipe even if I wanted to. Crazy, but true. Not sure why it's like that though.
01-03-2009, 06:01 PM
The thing is the first half of the book talks about the health care system and health, only the 2nd half is recipes.
01-03-2009, 06:44 PM
Google copyright laws. There, your answer will be but yes, any of us can take any of your recipes, change the directions and make them ours. The rest can be copyrighted or writ or whatever.
01-03-2009, 06:48 PM
to copyright it all you have to do is send a copy to yourself and save it. it will be dated. then it's automatically copyrighted. ;)
so, you can either email it to yourself or do it via the post. just don't open the envelope. leave it sealed with the date on the envelope. instant copyright.
and... one more thing. IF you are concerned about copyright then are you planning to go to court if someone does use your words as their own? cause honestly, that's about all a copyright if for... showing proof of ownership in a court of law.
01-03-2009, 07:25 PM
Before publishing your book, mail a copy of your book to yourself using the postal service. Then you will have a government dated copy proving that you wrote the book first. That is your copyright. I do this with my art and poetry.
01-03-2009, 08:19 PM
I agree that mailing it to yourself is the best way to prove the original document.
If you aren't interested in money, then you probably shouldn't go through a "traditional" publisher. They can be quite the headache. You'd be better publishing it on the internet with a no hassle company. I'm not sure about getting hard copies like this, but as far as "getting the information out there" this is the best method.
Your uncle is right. The "default" copyright on all work created is useless, because legally you don't really have a copyright unless you can prove that it is yours in a court of law. If you just start handing out information, someone else can easily steal it and make it look like it is theirs.
01-03-2009, 08:29 PM
Thanks for the replies. About getting the hard copies I already have all that's needed, a business high speed/high volume color copier/printer, a binding machine, etc.
I'll mail one to myself no matter how strange it sounds lol (I can just imagine the post lady saying "You've got the wrong address there, it's going to yourself!").
01-04-2009, 08:45 AM
Here is info straight from the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress:
Of particular note:
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”
Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.
01-04-2009, 10:52 AM
Congratulations of your accomplishment!
Since the cost can be as low as $35 (according to the website) to register your publication with the U.S. Copyright Office, I think it's well worth it.
You say that the publication includes more than just recipes. You may change your mind at some point and decide to do more with the book than currently intended. IMO having the official copyright from the beginning can't hurt.
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