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What should I do to establish rights on my work? Does it depend on the country where it was created?

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+1 for an excellent title edit. –  Chris_O Aug 23 '11 at 18:26
    
+1. Even before the edit, this is exactly the kind of question we would like to see here. Welcome to the community! –  Philip Regan Aug 23 '11 at 18:51
    
@Philip: thank you for your edit :) –  stan Aug 24 '11 at 6:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes - it completely depends on which country you are in. If you want to make it really fun, post it on the internet and then try to chase after copyright infringement in multiple countries.

Copyright laws of the United States: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/

Copyright laws in Canada: http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/legislation/canadian_law/federal/copyright_act/cdn_copyright_ov.cfm

Copyright laws in Great Britian: http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

Copyright laws of Burkino Faso: http://afro-ip.blogspot.com/2011/07/to-z-of-african-official-ip-websites-no_18.html

What you have to do to register your image (file a form, put a copyright notice on it, rent a billboard, etc.) as well as your rights and options will vary from country to country. Best bet is to google the copyright laws of your particular country.

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Regardless of what country your in one of the first things you can do is establish evidence that shows when the work was created (or when you claim you created the work).

You can do this using the free online copyright protection service Myows.

This can't prove that you created the work but it can establish evidence that could be used if you ever needed to defend your copyright.

As soon as you upload an Original work on Myows, a copy of that work is time- and date-stamped and saved on our secure servers.

Uploading your work on Myows provides you with valuable evidence as well as an effective deterence measure designed to prevent theft.

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"This can't prove that you created the work but it can establish evidence that could be used if you ever needed to defend your copyright." I am not a lawyer, but I see one handily arguing the usefulness of that site out of court in no time. –  Philip Regan Aug 23 '11 at 18:16
    
I think the service could be useful for resolving a dispute with a client or to help prevent content theft. Is it even possible to establish proof that you actually created a work? –  Chris_O Aug 23 '11 at 18:24
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Certainly. If you have the working materials for a work—page layout files, hi-res versions, design sketches, documentation—then that's not too hard. But that's not really the point. That site has the same "smell" as creating a copy of a work and then mailing it to yourself to establish ownership. That was disproved ages ago and I see that site being the digital equivalent. Knowing what I know about copyright, the only thing that I have ever seen to unequivocally establish copyright is to register the work with the appropriate government entity because that also folds the work into treaties. –  Philip Regan Aug 23 '11 at 18:38
    
I haven't looked at that site in detail, but I would really like to see cases that have gone to trial where that site was used to successfully establish someone's copyright. It would be a great service if it actually worked. –  Philip Regan Aug 23 '11 at 18:40
    
copyright is purely a legal concept. This web site seems to have no more legal validity that the old wive's tale of mailing yourself a copy of the work. –  DA01 Aug 23 '11 at 20:49

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