Steve Douglas on May 25th, 2007

According to WikiHow, copyrighting your artwork is no-big-deal, costs 50 cents and merely requires an envelope and postage. It’s known as the poor man’s copyright. Here’s their skinny –

1. Write your document. It can be anything, a poem, a book, anything.

2. Seal two separate copies of your document in 2 comfortable sized envelopes securely and properly. Make sure the envelope is durable.

3. Mail the document to yourself. Yes, yourself! Make sure the wording is clear and that you put the title of your document at the top.

4. When your documents arrive back, do not open them! Do not! No! Not ever! Keep them for your records. The point of the poor man’s copyrighting is for legal purposes. Your document has been marked by the post office, which has the only official, unbiased dating information that cannot be argued against. Keep your unopened envelopes until the last possible moment. Afterwards, in the case that you might have to sue for copied work, that evidence must be handed to the judge. Opening it beforehand will only taint it and will make it harder to claim your rightful ownership. Hopefully, it will never get to that point.

Only one small problem. They. Are. Flat. Out. Wrong.




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2 Comments to “Poor Man’s Copyright (again).”

  1. Simon R. says:

    Funny – this is the ‘killer tip’ my college instructor gave us in order to save time and money. Sad to see that it isn’t true.

  2. Kirsty says:

    The links in this just go back to this page!

    Certainly in the UK, you don’t need to do anything at all to copyright your work. Except create it. If you design something, you own the copyright from the word go.