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Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 16370
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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How are you? The New Yorker is interested in some of my

Customer Question

How are you?
The New Yorker is interested in some of my writings.
Before sending the whole "stuff," how can I sopyright it?
Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

It's not true that they "own" it, but you might still have problems proving that you were the author, and even if you did (without registering your copyright with the US Copyright Office) you would have limited recourse in the courts. You don't actually "copyright" something, because by US law you automatically have a copyright for your creations. For someone else to own it, you have to transfer the copyright to them. But again, if you don't register your copyright, that other party might claim it as their own anyway, and you'd still have to prove that you were the author and never transferred your copyright to them. Another issue is that without registration, you can only seek an "injunction" against them using the work. You can't seek damages, attorneys fees, costs, etc... So registration is still a very good idea.

Here's the process in a nutshell:


    Complete an application
    Include the correct fee
    Include nonreturnable copies (usually, one for unpublished and two for published)


    Library of Congress
    Copyright Office***** SE.
    Washington, D.C.###-##-####/p>

  • The Copyright Office receives your package, and your registration becomes effective on that day. They receive about 2,400 submissions each business day.
  • Their financial department processes your payment.
  • They examine your application and deposit and make sure they're acceptable and meet the requirements of Copyright law and regulations.
  • Your registration is assigned a number and a certificate of registration is issued. You'll receive that certificate in the mail about 4 months after you submit your package.
  • Catalogers create an online, searchable public record of your registration.

You can find more detail through this file from the Copyright Office:

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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