The other day I was discussing the nature of Copyright with my sister-in-law Gloria (who is an attorney) … I stated that “Copyright is automatic upon creation of a work”.
Gloria said I was incorrect … that you had to register for a copyright … and that you had no basis in court unless you do register the copyright.
This was quite a shock to me … so I decided to do some research.
Turns out that Gloria was partially right in a technical sense … and completely correct in a practical sense.
According to the Copyright Office …
Who said the U.S. Government doesn’t have a sense of humor?
How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?
Copyright law does not protect sightings. However, copyright law will protect your photo (or other depiction) of your sighting of Elvis. Just send it to us with a Form VA application and the filing fee. No one can lawfully use your photo of your sighting, although someone else may file his own photo of his sighting. Copyright law protects the original photograph, not the subject of the photograph.
– What Does Copyright Protect?
As a believer in free content, I salute Senator Obama for his request to license the democratic debates under the Creative Commons (Attribution) license.
I am a strong believer in the importance of copyright, especially in a digital age. But there is no reason that this particular class of content needs the protection. We have incentive enough to debate. The networks have incentive enough to broadcast those debates. Rather than restricting the product of those debates, we should instead make sure that our democracy and citizens have the chance to benefit from them in all the ways that technology makes possible.
– Obama’s Letter to Howard Dean