Copyrights and WrongsWritten by Roberta Beach Jacobson
Somehow we have come to believe more is better, that it‘s a good thing if a search engine pops up with 27,999 entries on a given subject. Yet it‘s because of this very "too muchness" that many journalists have found themselves entangled in Web.
Writers believe they‘ve sold one-time rights to articles, which then are left indefinitely on Websites or in archives - trapped without their permission, often times even without their creator's knowledge. In all but a few cases, writers have not been compensated financially for this prolonged use of their work.
These days every tiny business, every magazine and newspaper, wants a Website. Editors who would probably hand back coin to supermarket cashier who gave them too much change apparently think nothing of decorating their Webpages with "donated" articles.
Copyright is copyright, folks, be it bleached pulp or cyberspace. Cyberspace is just more complex.
The Internet is like a train out of control, running away with writers rights. Because Web is in its infancy, these working conditions can be improved. We still have a chance to patch things up and head that train in right direction.
Discovering a freshness Even some journalists who once turned up their noses at new medium are curious enough to flag down train, not even sure where it‘s bound. The Internet has been said to provide some old-fashioned print journalists rush of excitement they once felt when they started out as cub reporters so many moons ago.
Things You Might Like to Know about Copyrights Written by Jan K.
You may be under false impression that before you can get your text published, you must "get copyright" to your own written material. You might also think that in order to get copyright, you must "apply" for it. This is just not so. In following few paragraphs, I'll give you some simple facts about copyrights that may help you in your quest to get published. First, it is important to understand that you cannot "copyright" an idea; you can only copyright what you have written. That is, you might have just written greatest self-help manual on how to breed guppies. And you did, indeed, file for your copyright with Library of Congress. Three weeks after completing formal copyrighting process, you find out that manager of your neighborhood pet store (where you've been buying your guppies) has just sold TV rights to a new hit show "Breeding Guppies" and he is using many of same principles that you've outlined in your manual on how to go about guppy breeding. So, naturally, since this is 21st Century and you live in America, you want to sue guy. You think you have a sure thing, and you are dreaming of million-dollar award that jury is sure to give you. But…you'd better not put a down payment on that Guppy Farm in Iowa just yet. The manual you wrote, exact words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters that you wrote, belong to you. It is illegal for anyone to reproduce or use any of that text, in part or in whole, for profit without your permission. However, you must be able to prove that your exact words have been stolen before you can get an award for copyright infringement. So, you know that guy with his hit TV series? Well, unless he's reading from your manual word-for-word, or attempting to sell your manual as a supplemental text that he's written, then he's probably doing nothing illegal. He's just using idea of breeding guppies. You do "own" copyright to your text, all its words and clever phrases. And you don't even have to file with Library of Congress in order to have copyright on your text. The copyright is conferred upon you minute you write your New York Times Bestseller. All you have to do is be able to prove, beyond any doubt, date that you wrote material. For your protection, then, it is wise to print and date your material, and establish with a third party through a written communication that you have just finished your text. At that time, you can legally affix copyright symbol (the letter c inside a circle) to your work. Now here's where a formal copyright comes in. By filing with Library of Congress (and paying them their required application fee), you can establish definitively a date of copyright that will stand up in any court of law. Any judge or jury will defer to your date over someone else who can merely claim by word of mouth that his text came