Via Geoffrey Philp – Copyrights and Wrongs

Geoffrey Philp has a cautionary tale on the dangers of unregistered creative property:

… a few years ago, my son and I were walking through Blockbuster and we saw this movie, XYZ, that was set on a Caribbean island, so we decided to rent it.

As we settled back in our seats, a sickening feeling overcame me. This was my movie. A few changes had been made, but it was my movie. I’d been ripped off.

I called all my friends and then we contacted a lawyer, who after reviewing the case told me that because we couldn’t prove a “material connection” between he agent and the production company, we couldn’t bring a law suit. Plus, he added with the costs of expert witnesses, etc, the costs made it impossible to win.

I asked him about “Poor Man’s Copyright.”

After he finished laughing, he basically informed me about what is now found in Wikipedia: “There is no provision in copyright law regarding any such type of protection. Poor man’s copyright is therefore not a substitute for registration. According to section 408 of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, registration of a work with the Copyright Office is not a prerequisite for copyright protection.”

Here’s my thought. This is all very well and good, but I’m not American. I don’t live in the USA. What substitute is there for me?

Presumably if one wants to publish in the US, one ought to copyright through the US? Seems a bit of a scam, to tell you the truth.  I feel a bit of a rant coming on …


2 thoughts on “Via Geoffrey Philp – Copyrights and Wrongs

  1. ‘Presumably if one wants to publish in the US, one ought to copyright through the US?’

    I suspect not, actually; the Bahamas is a signatory of the various international copyright conventions, so if it’s copyrighted in the Bahamas it’s copyrighted in the US. And of course all work is copyright by default, the difficulty is in proving that the work is your own and that demonstrating that you’ve been ripped off.

    OTOH IANAL, so I could be completely wrong.

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