Alone, the word exudes a mysterious power where few people give a second thought about the deeper meaning behind the word. Probably more so, the associated symbol of © is meaningless as eyes simply glance over it as if it was invisible. Especially in this age of “copy and paste” from the internet, the word “copyright” or © are frequently ignored. Some ignore the copyright infringement by sheer ignorance while some take something that is not theirs and use it to their benefit while hoping not to get caught. Being a follower of rules, I recognized the need to officially get K9 Rocky: A Cop Without A Badge copyrighted.
Many aspiring authors use the very label of “copyrighted” as if it is something special. In having gone down the path of recruiting a literary agent, one of the no-no’s of trying to fluff your product was to brag that it was copyrighted. Anyone who can follow step by step instructions can get their work copyrighted. The copyright office does not care if the work is extravagantly beautiful or pure garbage, they just collect the money and process the application. With no scrutinizing quality control, prospective literary agents eye-roll and shoulder shrug at the mentioning of a copyright as they move the casual’s solicitation into the trash pile.
The whole purpose of a copyright is to protect the author from someone stealing ownership to their product. A copyright time stamps when the work was completed and by who. There is the “poor boy copyright” where you mail yourself the completed product and leave it in the sealed envelope with the theory being that your work is time stamped via the postage mark. However, this technique is frowned upon and it is highly suggested to officially register the work at the government’s copyright office.
So, I completed the copyright paperwork, filled out a check for $35 (some attorney’s will do it for you for $250 to $500) included a copy of K9 Rocky: A Cop Without A Badge and shipped the package to the copyright office. As expected, the check cleared immediately. Months passed with no word from the office. The Q & A’s on their website stated it could take 2-16 months with an average of 9 months for them to complete the process. I knew not to call and subject myself to the misery of being on eternal hold to be only later transferred several times with the predictable dial tone as someone “accidentally” hangs up the phone.
So, I waited…and waited…and waited.
Finally, after 15 months, the envelope arrived from the copyright office! It was finally official and I excitedly opened the envelope expecting to unveil a fancy certificate, complete with a golden foil seal and worthy of framing and hanging on the wall. I unfolded the piece of paper and….
The form letter had some basic information about Rocky’s book inserted onto blank lines and there was an official registration number. But, there were no fancy fonts, no embossed seal or any eye catching print. It was just a very generic piece of paper that holds much legal power.
Someday I must reel in my high expectations.
Sorry Rocky, I had hoped to frame your book’s copyright and hang it near other memorabilia. Instead, I think you understand that it will simply be filed away. But, at least it’s another check mark off the list of things to do.