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Re: Copyright law (off topic)

In a message dated 23/12/96  19:22:11, Bill writes:

 I checked with a lawyer friend.  There is (according to her) no such thing
 as "automatic copyright".  Copyright must be applied for and certified.
 Nothing you write or print is copyrighted unless you go through this
 process.  If you steal material that is not copyrighted, you may be guilty
 of plagiarism, which, however, is an ethical breach, not a crime.

Not in UK law - here the right is automatic (so I have been taught at my
writing class) - there is no official body to apply to, nor any form of
certification. You can, however, assert your right by attaching a copyright
statement to your work (we were encouraged to do this) - this could just read
"Copyright John Doe 1996". This is covered by the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. Copyright is different to patent which does involve
application to the Patent Office - you also have to prove that your work is
original for patent (not required under copyright).

This law was created by our Parliament to protect writers and authors,
especially people like me who try to do the odd bit of writing for magazines
and journals, and who were previously getting ripped off by rogue publishers
(submit your work for consideration, they publish it and never pay a penny or
acknowledge your authorship). Much of this type of writing is poorly paid,
and would certainly not generate enough money for us to pay fees for
copyright registration. Nor would it allow freelance journalists to submit
their work quickly enough for it to remain current if they had to wait for a
copyright authority to certificate their work.
Generally, it's a good all round idea.

Graham Spencer
Copyight Graham Spencer 1996      :-)

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