Gary Frederick <gary .
> Does anyone have a page of instruction with a clear statement about
Here's an except from the rec.arts.comics.creative FAQ, which is written
from the other perspective (that of authors), but which includes some good
pointers. This bit was written by Jeff McCoskey (jjmcc @
Subject: 2.5. What do Copyright laws I pay taxes for do for me?
I don't even play a lawyer on TV, but there are some things you should
know about Copyright laws.
Anything you write is copyrighted immediately, whether you flag it with a
copyright notice or not. Furthermore, the copyright protection is
international under the Berne Copyright Convention, which has been signed
by nearly every country with access to Usenet.
If you label your text as copyrighted, it preempts a possible
"unintentional infringement" defense from plagarizers. The copyright
notice is considered legal notice that you intend to retain your rights.
The legal format for such a notice requires three things: Your name, the
year, and one or more of the following: "Copyright," "Copr.," and/or the
c-in-circle symbol. Note that there is no firm legal precedence for (C)
or (c) as having any special copyright meaning. Example notice:
Copyright 1994 Jeff J McCoskey
The only way to get full legal protection (at least in the United States)
is to register your work with the government (forms are free, filing fees
apply). This *guarantees* an archived, dated copy should future legal
action be necessary. Other forms of dating, like mailing yourself a copy
or archiving (to get a date stamp), are of dubious and unproven legal
An excellent resource for Copyright information is misc.legal, where a FAQ
is posted monthly.
Another excellent resource is the U.S. Copyright Office home page at:
Russ Allbery (rra @