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What is a “Poor Man’s Copyright?”

A lot of us have heard of a “poor man’s copyright” where you simply mail yourself something you want to have copyrighted. You then do not open the envelope and it is sealed with your copyrighted material, dated with the USPS stamp. But is that a real thing?

First and foremost, in the US copyrights are automatic upon completion of a work. “Poor man’s copyrights” may exist in other countries, such as the UK, but in the US there is no such thing as a poor man’s copyright. Mailing the work to yourself may not actually provide any benefits, and it certainly does not prove that you are the creator of the work.

So, even though copyrights are automatic upon completion, registering the copyright with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the best route to ensure protection of your work.

Registering your copyright with the USPTO is quick and relatively inexpensive, and doing so early provides a few key benefits, specifically, an increased potential recovery if anyone infringes your copyright, not to mention, the record of the copyright existing as of a certain date and ownership. To file a lawsuit, which is done in federal court, a copyright must be registered, and registering prior to the infringement increases the potential recovery greatly. L4SB has the experience and the team who has been working with Copyrights for more than ten years, we make the process easy for you.

So, do not rely on a poor man’s copyright. Be sure to always mark your work with the appropriate copyright registration notice and file upon completion. This goes for all original works, such as books, photographs, websites, songs, drawings, paintings, etc. By filing the copyright with the USPTO, there is always a record of your work.


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Interested in learning more about Copyrights and want to speak with a Copyright Attorney? Maybe you are ready to file your Copyright and want to make sure it goes through without any problems.
Contact us through our website or call us today at 505.715.5700
We look forward to hearing from you!

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