What is a poor man’s copyright?
What is a poor man’s copyright you ask? Copyright is basically the exclusive legal right granted to an individual to distribute, sell and or market their original creation. Anyone else that wants to use this “original creation” is only allowed to do so with the permission of the creator. The moral rights of the creator are sometimes recognized as well, which includes your right to be credited for the work.
So let’s focus on the “moral rights” of a poor mans copyright and most importantly, let’s focus on the “poor man”. That being said, how can you as a poor man secure your rights to original craftsmanship, whether it is literary works, art work, performing art work, song lyrics, masks work, periodical, magazine or similar work, poetry, a newly developed gadget or improvements to an already existing product, which can include trademarks and patents?
This is where your moral rights come in, how dare someone less talented, or innovative than you take advantage of your creativity simply because they are more financially sound? How do you keep it out of the hands of someone who has more money than you and of whom you have no chance of standing up against in court? Chances are, you can’t.
That’s why you must take precautionary measures to protect yourself. It’s really quite simple and doesn’t cost you more than a postage stamp and your sound belief in the United States Postal Service.
Prior to submitting your “original” take the time to generate a filing system labeled with file folders, titles and dates and mail the information back to yourself through the US Postal Service.
You can take additional precautionary measures by securing the envelope with scotch tape or a wax seal, although wax seals aren’t used much anymore. You could also spend approximately $6.00 more to have the “originals” sent via Certified Mail Return Receipt, just make sure someone will be home to sign for the envelope when it’s delivered. Upon receipt, file the envelope in the files folders you created.
It’s very important to make sure whatever you send in the mail is your final document – no other changes can be made prior to submission. Be sure to add the following footnote: The enclosed information is copywrited by “insert your name and the date mailed” and cannot be used, distributed, altered or sold without my prior consent.
Then and only then, can you pursue outside avenues to get your “original” published or screened by professionals for consideration. Unopened post marked documentation will serve as irrefutable proof that these documents were generated by you and you alone.
At this point you can feel confident that your original has been protected should it end up in the hands of someone more financially sound that doesn’t have your best interest in mind.
We all know with easy access to the World Wide Web, emails, social networking websites, hackers and sharing your “originals” with family and friends can ensure little or no security due to the fact that this type of correspondence can be altered without factual evidence and testimonies can be coerced.
In essence, the poor man’s copyright is equal to that of any other man with or without the financial stability. You just need to learn how to protect yourself from the beginning and this, my friend, is an easy way for the poor man to do it.