Many writers are worried that their work will be stolen by others and, thus, they are skeptical about sharing their writing in public domains. These concerns have increased in recent years as writing becomes pervasive in online realms, from social media to personal blogs.
If you are a writer and you want to protect your work from being misused and stolen for another's financial gain, it is important that you take the time to understand the way that copyright law works in regard to texts in the United States.
Your writing is subject to more protection than you might think
When you write something down that is original, the piece of writing is automatically protected by copyright, whether you intend to publish it or not. This means that if a person did find a hard drive of your unpublished work and tried to claim it as their own, you would be able to take legal action by default. However, proving that you were the original writer may become more challenging.
When is my writing not subject to copyright protection?
The only way that your writing would not be subject to copyright is in a situation where you have signed away your rights. This is usually in an instance of performing work-for-hire. This means the entity that commissioned the work will own the piece and the copyright when it has been produced.
What other aspects of my work are not subject to copyright?
While full paragraphs that are unique to your work will be automatically protected by copyright law, it is not possible to benefit from the automatic protection of book titles and slogans. This is because they tend to be too generic to be unique to your writing. However, it might be possible to take action to gain a trademark to protect your book title or other phrase specifically.
When working on a novel or piece of writing, it is important to be aware of existing trademarks relating to titles. You should not be complacent in protecting your work from those with the intention to plagiarize or steal creative ideas. It is important that you are proactive.