How to Publish Poetry for Free and Get It Copyrighted

By Lori Lapidario

Poetry writing is a fun way to exercise one's creative writing skills. Poetry may be published free of charge on a person's website. Other sites offer publication of poetry books for a fee. Poetry is a type of literary work that is protected by copyright laws.

Poetry writing is a fun way to exercise one's creative writing skills. Poetry may be published free of charge on a person's website. Other sites offer publication of poetry books for a fee. Poetry is a type of literary work that is protected by copyright laws.

Copyright Defined

Copyright is a type of intellectual property protection provided by the United States government for, published or unpublished, "original works of authorship" in literary, musical, dramatics, artistic and visual fields.

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Registration Benefits

Poetry is automatically protected by copyright the moment it is conceived and placed in a fixed form, such as written electronically or on paper. Copyright registration is not necessary; however, it offers advantages, such as providing public notice of copyright ownership. Though you may sue for copyright infringement even without registration, a valid registration enables you to potentially collect statutory damages and attorney fees. Copyright registration also provides prima facie evidence - a rebuttable presumption of truth - of copyright ownership in court.

Copyright Applications

Proper application forms for copyright can be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office's website. For poetry, you will need Form TX. Complete and mail the completed application, copy of your poetic work and filing fee to the U.S. Copyright Office at the address indicated on the application form. Applications may also be filed using the U.S. Copyright Office's electronic filing system, known as eCO. The application process can be complex, so hiring an attorney or using an online legal document preparation service is recommended.

Copyright Notices

Although no longer required by law, copyright notices should be used when publishing poetry. This gives notice to the public that the work is protected by copyright. It also provides contact information for persons seeking permission to use the work. Notice of copyright is typically shown with the symbol © or the word "Copyright" followed by the year of publication and copyright owner's name.

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Tools for Copyrighting

References

Related articles

How to Publish and Copyright a Poem

If you are a poet, you establish copyright protection for your poem as soon as you write it down. This protection gives you the exclusive right to publish, distribute and copy your poetry. For extra protection, including the right to sue and collect damages from someone who infringes your copyright, you can formally register your copyright with the United States Copyright Office. This can be done before or after you publish your poem.

How to Register Your Work With the Copyright Office

Copyright protection is a form of intellectual property law that gives the copyright-holder the sole right to copy, publish, or perform the work. According to the Copyright Office, copyrights protect "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression," including novels, poems, computer software and songs. You do not have to register work to get copyright protection; protection attaches the minute an original work is completed. Registration is a discretionary means of providing a public statement of your copyright. It becomes essential, however, if you want to bring a suit for copyright infringement.

Do I Have to Copyright Every Poem I Write?

Poems enjoy automatic copyright protection the moment you record them in a tangible form, such as writing them down on paper or typing them into a word processing program and saving the file to your computer’s hard drive. You are not required to formally register your poems with the U.S. Copyright Office, but doing so is important because it will give you legal standing to sue any third parties who infringe upon your work.

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