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Copyright Your Online Work

Last week I provided some general information about copyrights. Now, I'll delve a bit deeper into the areas of copyrightable materials, specifically the more atypical types of works that can be protected by copyright.

First on the list at the US Copyright Office web site is Literary Works.

Okay, so things like poetry, speeches, dissertations, etc. are easy enough to understand. The one type of literary work I get asked about is protecting online work. The US Copyright Office has a handy-dandy 8 page section about Copyright Registration for Online Works. How's about we break that down to some manageable parts.

The above circular describes online works as those that are "made available over a communications network such as the Internet…also applies also to works accessed via network (websites, homepages, and FTP sites) and files and documents transmitted and/or downloaded via network."

It's important to note that "the registration will extend only to the copyrightable content of the work as received in the Copyright Office and identified as the subject of the claim."

While this information is referenced within the Literary Works area of the site, there are other relevant registrations. Here's what the US Copyright Office lists:

• Form TX—literary material, including computer programs and databases
• Form VA—pictorial and graphic works, including cartographic material
• Form PA—audiovisual material, including any sounds, music, or lyrics (*See filing fee information on page 3.)
• Form SR—sound recording, excluding sounds accompanying an audiovisual work
• Form SE—a single issue of a serial
• Form SE/Group—a group of issues of a serial, including daily newsletters
• Form GR/CP—a group of contributions to a periodical. (This form must be used in conjunction with Form TX, PA, or VA.)

If this applies to you or your plans, take the time to read the Circular prior to filing a thing.

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