Online Copyright Submission

Anyone else tried this? Is it as secure as mailing it in?

Depends on what you mean by secure. Technically you might say that it is more secure. SSL is encrypted so only you and the receiving server know the actually content. In other ways you may feel that it is less secure. What happens to you doc once the server decrypts it (you have the same issues with mail, you just may not feel it the same way)?

If you can tell us what security aspect you are concerned with we might be able to ask the right questions of the CO tech guys to get good answers for you.

I’ve not tried it, but poking into it, it looks reasonably secure.

I don’t trust the postal system. (My parents have worked for it; I know and have experienced too many horror stories.)


What I’m really looking for is to know if anyone has tried it and had bad experiences with the online-only submission. I suppose I’m allowing my inner technophobe out, just a little. I’m something of a nerd (I’m paying the bills as a webmaster these days, for example), so he hasn’t seen the light of day in decades and is a little dazzled by how bright it is out here.

“Secure” is probably just my way of expressing that I’m getting the jitters. I’m not published yet, so I’m still a little insecure about letting my work out of my sight. I guess I’ll need to get over that pretty quickly. Nothing a dozen or so rejection notices won’t cure. :wink:

On another note: I just noticed that “Current Processing Times” snuck in at the bottom of my post. I looked back at the site and found that it was a link: … ertificate

What? I don’t have that long to sit around an…

Oh. Well… OK then.

While I’m at it (post flooding?), does anyone know if you have to do individual short stories separately, or if you can send them in as a single volume?

Edit: Never mind, found that one myself:

My writing partner and I filed for copyright protection with the Library of Congress site. We did it with our pen name, but also filed our legal names, for security. The process was not glitch free. As I have often found with government sites, the coding and scripting can have errors, and sometimes the machines are down, especially on weekends. I had trouble using Safari and had to switch to Firefox to make a successful filing. The biggest obstacle was coming up with a username and password that satisfied LC standards; they rejected my usual versions. The process steps you through many screens, but eventually it gets more familiar and goes faster. I got a confirming e-mail eventually, and yes, the charge was only $35. On the whole, it’s faster and cheaper than filing by paper. And I believe you can protect a collection of unpublished short stories; just give them a collective name along with the individual titles. On the whole, I trust the system and would use it again.

I’ve used it, and I, too, had a few minor frustrations (switching from Safari to Firefox, for instance). On balance, however, it was a faster process than sending it in by snail-mail, and cheaper. Plus, once the system accepts your payment and says your submission’s complete, anyone who does a search for your copyrighted material can find that it has, indeed, been registered.

Do you find it significant that a thread about copyright and publication draws so few comments, while everyday there are 40-50 posts about drivel? I’m beginning to wonder how many legitimate writers are on board, and how many are just here for therapy. Ah well, onward.

Copyright issues only interest those who are serious working writers. Just out of curiosity (and not to cause any additional writing blocks) how many on this forum have actually published?

Not self-published, but professionally published, as in: real live editor sends you a nice check, and soon your work is commercially available at bookstore, magazine rack, large screen, small screen?

:open_mouth: Bit personal that, init!?

Wot y sayin, that we should copyright ‘And Now For That Latte.’ :confused:

Quite a few, I suspect. Certainly I have, and I suspect the forum contributors with very specific questions about collaboration and file conversions and such aren’t just trying to annoy Keith.

On the other hand, it’s not clear to me that online copyright registration is only (or even primarily) of interest to “serious working writers.” Quite the opposite, in fact, since in most cases the real live editor’s company takes care of it.

And as for copyright issues in general, the viability of writing as a career depends on being able to get paid for doing it. Copyright issues ought to matter to not just “serious working writers,” but anyone who hopes to get paid for any creative endeavor.


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According to the definition here, I am a “legitimate” writer now.

But – was I “illegitimate” during all those years that I was writing and not being published?
Was Kafka “illegitimate” because more or less none of his stuff was published during his lifetime? Rimbaud?

I must say that I find this destinction condescending. During the time when I was unpublished it never failed to hurt and humiliate me. I was working like a madman, giving my best – but according to some I was not legitimate.


But Druid’s comment was not directed to you as much as those of us who seem to run amok here in “writer land”. Let’s face it, I, Jaysen, have put a huge number of words on the forum. Have I put as many into a project? What about Mr. K? Would I consider a person who “installed linux” a legitimate systems engineer? Or a better example, would I consider a person who posts a ton of messages on a linux forum a legitimate systems engineer?

I think that is the question of legitimacy here.

Jaycen and rochefore raise good points. The debate about who’s a “legitimate” vs. an “illegitimate” writer aside, there are plenty of good reasons why an unpublished writer would wish to copyright his or her manuscripts. Anyone ever loaned out a copy of a manuscript to a friend, hoping to get some good, constructive criticism, only to find out that the friend subsequently loaned it out to some other friend, one with his own writing aspirations (and an unknown level of integrity)? That’s what happened to me. As soon as I found out that friend-of-friend had his hands on my manuscripts, I transmitted it to the Copyright Office immediately.

Because there’s one thing I know as a lawyer who’s taught media law: Unless it’s registered at the Copyright Office, you can’t sue in federal court when someone steals your stuff, and you can’t get them to pay for your attorney’s fees, either.

So, in the end, even if the work hasn’t been published (yet!), the $35 investment is pretty small, compared to one’s peace of mind.

Well, at least we managed to get a few more posts on the issue of copyright submission. Let me explain why I made my comment: I read the forum on RSS, right now via Google Reader. Posts appear in their order of submission, so I have to wade through the daily badinage of certain parties, who it seems to me could “get a room” by just setting up IM links and then exchanging their jokes, insults, and ribaldry. But that would kill the fun, because they want to be read. I guess for them this place is a publication.

Some days I grin and bear it, but not today. I mean no offense to V or J or anyone else, and maybe they do liven up the pace here, since all problems and tech advice make for dull reading. I apologize for any offense I gave by using the term “legitimate.” Maybe my sense is that we’ve hit a bland patch lately and need to find some new topics with which to palaver. I’ll see if I can start one, but please let’s not decay constantly into booze and sex jokes. We did pretty well, a while back, on the topic of snow.

Druid: I concur mightily.

What your problem Droo? :confused:
PS I find your comment:

offensive. If I wanted to be, read, Id try to write something for publication. I refer you to:

Thats what were doing, having a laugh. I doubt you could call it burnishing our egos


I wish I could write like that.
We`d make a great couple. You Jane, the minimalist, me, Tarzan the verbotic