[cc-community] Beginner's question: copy of the manuscript?

Brent 'Dax' Royal-Gordon brent at brentdax.com
Thu Sep 28 19:14:40 EDT 2006

On 9/28/06, jliss at speakeasy.net <jliss at speakeasy.net> wrote:
> But, when I applied for my CC license, all I got was a piece of HTML
> containing the title of my novella and its date. Do I not send an electronic
> copy of the text to CC like I would if registering the work with the Library
> of Congress? If someone were to steal my ideas or text, how would I prove
> that they had been copyrighted with you? Under the LoC case, they would
> assumedly dig out my manuscript, look at it, and say, "Yep, you stole this
> from this guy all right."
> I'm sure my question illustrates my ignorance of some basic issues here, but
> if someone would please enlighten me as to why I should feel all right using
> CC instead of sending a hard copy (and my $20) to Washington? I trust that
> CC is well founded but can't understand why they don't want a copy of what
> they are issuing a copyright for. Is this covered by placing a detailed
> precis under "Description of the work" (I only entered "Science-fiction
> novella".)

Creative Commons doesn't "issue" copyrights; it just gives you license
text you can include with your work to indicate how it may be legally
used.  CC isn't a copyright registrar like the Library of Congress.

Actually, the Library of Congress doesn't issue copyrights either.  As
soon as a creative work is "fixed" (put on paper, typed into a
computer, recorded on tape, etc.), it's automatically copyrighted--you
don't have to reisger or pay a fee, and you don't even need a date or
name on it, although all of those are helpful in proving who created
the work.  The only purpose of a Library of Congress registration is
as evidence in a copyright infringement case, and even then it's not
taken as absolute proof.  (Oh, and traditional publishers like
copyright registrations--partially because they used to be required
and partially because they want the evidence if there's a lawsuit.)

If you're worried that someday you'll end up in court over your
manuscript, by all means register your copyright.  Hell, even if you
aren't but it'll make you sleep better at night, go right ahead.  It
won't have any effect on your use of Creative Commons.

Brent 'Dax' Royal-Gordon <brent at brentdax.com>
Perl and Parrot hacker

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