Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Copyright for Poets

Dear Rich: I have a relative who wrote poetry and we would like to collect his work and publish a volume of his poems. None of the poems have ever been published. How do we copyright this in his name? We love poetry (and here's a photo of one of our favorite poets). He turned us on to this poem and it made quite an impression on the Dear Rich Staff (For poetry students, here's one take on the poem; and here's another).
Right, you had a question. Poetry, perhaps the oldest form of literary work, is protected under copyright law. Your relative's work is protected automatically, but you can obtain certain advantages -- as well as placing your relative on record at the Library of Congress -- by filing a copyright application. You can register a poetry collection (this should help) by completing Form CO. And congrats on publishing a poet. "A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote."--Yevgeny Yevtushenko.