The Social Network Mind Boggle

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Share your poetry with piece of mind…the simple truth about copyright.

The information contained below is not legal advice. It is a short and practical interpretation of  United States Code  Title 17 copyright law and does not substitute in any way the professional services of an attorney. 

Years ago I learned that mailing a copy of my original work to myself  was a ‘poor mans copyright’ because it activates copyright protection without having to pay registration to the US Copyright Office. I also learned that original work needs notation of the copyright sign and the author’s name so interested parties can see that the work  is protected.    That bit of copyright education carried me confidently into the world of online social centers, specialty networks, and the opportunity to put my works on display for the world to see.

Browsing various poetry networks, I noticed the posting of original poetic works was small compared to other specialty niches. And when my poetry blog showed up in the top 50 sad poems on Network Blogs I knew there were lots of poets not yet posting.

Suddenly I wanted to tells poets and other artists the simple and important truth about copyrights;  how easy it is to protect your original work from unauthorized use, and to enjoy your exclusive rights as a unique creator.

So I researched the US Copyright Law, read the US Library of Congress and the US Copyright Office websites, visited legal information sites, and read articles on copyright.  As I outlined my understanding of recent copyright law, something became very clear,

 Five Fundamental Truths About Copyrights

 But before you read any further, I want to offer you a direct link to the June 26, 2011 US Library of Congress copyright basics june2011 publication…if you would prefer to read it directly from the federal agency.

1) When you write a poem, you create a unique work of authorship, it is yours. YOU OWN IT.

2) Because you own it, you automatically hold exclusive rights to its reproduction, distribution, public performance, and, you have legal remedies should someone infringe upon those rights.

3) As a proud poet and copyright owner, you can claim your rights and put potential thief’s on notice.   Effective notice looks like this: ©2011kerryldaley and includes three elements:

a. copyright symbol. [use the copyright sign (alt0169) or the word copyright]
b. date the work completed. [year]
c.  name of the copyright holder. [full name; well-known nickname;initials]

4) Copyright infringement that continues despite notification of unauthorized use can end up in court. Recent legislation requires the subject work be certified by the US Copyright Office before taking legal action. US Copyright certification can occur anytime during the life of the copyright.

5) US Copyright Law grants authorship rights and copyright protection to the original author of unique works. Period. Your work is protected even if formal USLOC registration has not occured.  But, if you decide to publish the work and sell copies, registration with the USLOC must occur within three months of the first publishing. This requirement  helps build the USA record of works created and published within its borders.

For poets who are leery of sharing their copyrighted work (yes, it’s already copyrighted), I hope that you are enthusiastic and confident about  your copyright and the protections granted you as the copyright holder. I want you to share your poetry with peace of mind because you know the simple truth about copyrights.

Legalzoom has a good article that explains the difference between copyright and copywrite, and a useful post called ‘Can you trademark “you’re fired!”, and other sayings?

Here are two sites that show how to make the copyright sign in different operating systems: eHow and

Additionally, provides a helpful flow chart of the copyright process.

Here is a non-profit site that competes with the US Library of Congress. http://www.myfreecopyright.comis a free digital copyright registration service that provides legitimate public record of ownership and maintains its own national database of copyrighted items. Works submitted to are protected and have been effectively used in court.

Finally, since this post intends to bring poem sharing enthusiasm to poets everywhere, I am including an exciting list of online poetry communities.

Poetry Workshops

Poetry Networks

Poetry Forums

Poet Directories ($10.00 membership fee)


Here is an Act that was instrumental in opening the lines of communication between governmental bureaucracy and the people it serves.

US Paperwork Reduction Act

The Act reduces waste, and thus, reduces financial expenditure of the taxpayer dollar.

But it has aided in something other than its intended federal budgetary savings.

This Act is one of the forerunners to the Plain Language Act of 2010 and the movement toward understanding and accountability between the individual citizen and the public service agency of which he communicates.

In looking for an article to include and reference here, I came upon this somewhat related viewpoint The History of Retrospective Regulatory Review offered by a fellow blogger, Mike Mandel.

You can read his article at :

Ever wonder what goes on at the US capital all day and what political issues are being discussed, debated, proposed, or voted on? 

Here is a link  to our current US Congress and its daily activities: 

We (the people) can get quick access to congressional outcomes like who voted Yay or Nay and which political party is predominately backing the issue.

This Act defines specific language guidelines for government agencies forms, documents, blogs, etc.

US Plain Language Act of 2010

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