By Alisa Korzh
Alisa Korzh is a marketer and copywriter for Unplag, a site that checks for plagiarism online. Below she covers the basics of copyright.
Writers and publishers work with texts on a daily basis, but not everyone knows a lot about copyright. There is undeniably a whole host of myths around copyright issues. That’s why misunderstandings happen.
There are a few basic facts about copyright that anyone can understand. You don’t need to be an expert in law to know your rights and protect your works form illegal copying. Here are the must-know things to keep in mind:
Is your idea fixed? Great, consider it protected
Any creative or research work is protected immediately, whether they’re ideas, inventions, or even concepts. Music, sound recordings, writing, dramatic, and choreographic works are all protected. So are paintings, graphics, sculptures, and architectural works. Even methods of investigations and statistical data are protected. The only thing that matters is that they must be somehow recorded. As so as anything is recorded, it is protected by copyright law, even whether you officially publish your work anywhere or not. Nevertheless, publication is important in defining the copyright duration. However, there’s such a thing as “work-for-hire”. If you’re a freelancer and you receive money for writing, your employer is considered to be the copyright owner.
What if a group of authors collaborates and creates one work?
All authors that were working on the same piece of writing are considered to be joint copyright owners. They are equal and free to use their common work in their own invidividual interests. Collective works are anthologies or encyclopedias which unite a number of separate works created by different contributors. Each author has one’s copyright ownership for the parts they were working on.
Copyright ownership belongs to the author throughout one’s life plus 50-70 years (it depends on the country; for example, in the USA it is 70 years).
Is copyright international?
There’s no such thing as international copyright; each country has its own copyright law. There are, however, a few international copyright treaties, such as the Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). They are created to provide different countries with minimum standards of protection.
The importance of copyright notice
Note that the © symbol doesn’t protect your writing; it just warns readers that your work is protected. To show your work is copyrighted, use the © symbol along with the year of first publication and the name of the copyright owner. If your work wasn’t published before, indicate “Unpublished Work” before the © symbol. You can also add “All Rights Reserved,” although you don’t need to.
What can you do as a copyright owner?
You’re free to sell or distribute your writing, make copies, create other works related to the original one, and read/display the work publicly.
Public domain works are those whose copyright has expired. Also there are several items that become public domain automatically. These include government documents, common-knowledge facts, titles, and slogans. However, you can register titles and slogans as trademarks.
It will be a plus to register one’s work in the US Copyright Office. Your work will be included in the Office’s database. This organization supplies the public with information and administers copyright law.
Unplag is protecting your work originality
The copyright problems writers and publishers face is widespread. Besides knowing about copyright law, authors should also develop their own plagiarism-fighting system. This process has to be automated so writers and publishers don’t have to spend countless hours searching for copied works manually.
Unplag is an online tool that automatically spots similarities between your original work and the works of others. After you upload the piece of writing to your Unplag account (by the way, your account data is protected from leaks), the tool checks it against the Internet for similarities. The system supports numerous file formats, including .doc/.docx, .rtf, .txt, .odt, .html, and .pdf.
Search results are ready in just four seconds. You see a list of websites where your writing is detected and the originality/similarity percentage. You can visit these websites to verify the content. Those parts of your work that appear to be plagiarized will be highlighted in the checked file. You have a downloadable report with all the important details about the search results. You don’t need to create it manually, it’s automatically generated.
New features can be customized according to the needs of writers and publishers as well, they just have to contact the support team to discuss their needs.
Alisa Korzh, an internet marketer and copywriter from Unplag plagiarism checker, which is already used by students, educators and writers worldwide. Feel free to contact us about any questions about our system.