Things You Might Like to Know about CopyrightsWritten by Jan K.
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before yours. It's a good idea to formally copyright any text that you are planning to market. So, if you're convinced that world population-at-large is in desperate need of "Breeding Guppies,What Every Ichthyologist Needs to Know" and you plan to sell it on Ebay for $19.95, you should apply for a formal copyright. Just having copyright, however, doesn't mean that other people can't quote your work. They may do so, as long as you are given full credit for having written it prior to their use. This is called a "reference" or a "citation" and generally, whatever passage is being quoted will appear offset in quotation marks (so that reader can visualize which words belong to someone other than author of text in which quote appears). Of course, at present contingent of Copyright Police is not up to tracking down every single instance of copyright infringement, and chances are that not everyone cites original authors as scrupulously as they should, so beware of whom you casually let look at or read your text (or to whom you give a copy). Copyrights are not forever. Typically, a copyright lasts for 50 years past natural life of original author. Authors' heirs may sometimes re-apply for copyrights, but generally written texts that are this old are considered "public domain" and may be reproduced without paying author's family a royalty fee. In publishing world, you will find that many publications require that you relinquish your copyrights to work in return for having your work published. This is a fairly standard procedure—unless your name happens to be Stephen King or Danielle Steele. Once you've relinquished your copyright to a given work, you can not sell or submit that text again unless you get express approval from publisher that now owns copyright. There are sites on World Wide Web where you can post your work for others to read or use as they see fit, so-called "free sites." In cases such as this, there should be a disclaimer that anyone who uses or reproduces your work must give you full credit. Whether this happens all time is certainly a matter for some speculation, but your safeguard is that you own copyright and if you find that someone is profiting from your work and that you have not been compensated, you can file a copyright infringement suit against them. As of date of this article, current copyright fee is $30. All instructions and necessary forms can be found on U.S. Copyright Office's web site: http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/. I have copyrighted several texts and advise that you mail your application with a "Return Receipt Requested" from U.S. Post Office. This is your proof that Copyright Office has received your copyright application.
Jan K., The Proofer is a full-time freelance proofreader and copyeditor. In business since 1995, she has enjoyed working for a diverse world-wide clientele, covering subject matter including academic research, medical law, consumer surveys, and self-help materials. Please visit http://www.janktheproofer.com for more information.
Back to the copywriting basicsWritten by Mark Laing
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* Tell truth. Not only will you avoid being sued, but you'll achieve credibility. This translates into long term profitability. Trust us. * Similar to last point, don't exaggerate. Kill superlatives and exclamation marks. Let reader decide if they're excited or not. If you've done your job, they will be. * For website copy, use bullets and point form, and break up copy with subheads. Short attention spans and monitor-induced eyestrain make this essential. * Forget word counts and padding your copy. Say what you have to say - if it only takes 150 words to get your message out (or 75, or even 25), that's a good thing. You've made your point, and your reader can move on and buy your product or service. * After you've finished writing, read your copy out loud to yourself. You'll be surprised at how many mistakes you'll catch this way. It also lets you know if your writing has a natural flow to it. * Don't fall in love with a particular phrase or paragraph, no matter how great it sounds. Ask yourself, 'does it fit into objective of my copy?' If answer is no, kill it. * Don't be happy with your first draft. Edit, rewrite, and edit some more. On other hand, you're not following in footsteps of Hemingway ... don't overedit or overanalyze, or you'll never finish job. * When you're done, be receptive to constructive criticism. Let others read your work before it goes online, and if they point out mistakes, rewrite.
Following above advice will go a long way to ensuring your web copy is readable and does what it's supposed to do - promote your business.
Mark Laing is a copywriter and the content creator for http://www.graphicsandwords.com , a website featuring graphic design and copywriting resources for newsletter editors/publishers, webmasters and other creative professionals.