Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Can You Copyright A Blog?

Dear Rich: Can one copyright one's blog? I'm guessing yes. How does one go about it? Does each daily blog entry need to be registered? Or does one simply forego formal registration and note Copyright (c) at the bottom of each blog? Sorry, we're a little preoccupied filming raccoons outside our office window. (And one reason we posted our raccoon movie is because of this article.) As for your question, hard as it is for some people to believe, you have a copyright once you create the entry. That's right; it's automatic. If someone steals your entry, you can pursue it with a DMCA Notice (Here are Google's rules for filing the notice). If you wish to sue in court, you will need a copyright registration. You can file your application after you discover the infringement and register all of your entries at that time (filing as a text work). This article explains some strategies. There may be a delay of a few months to get the registration or you can expedite your application for about $800. 
Get Proactive. You can also register the blog entries now instead of waiting for an infringement. That's a little bit of work and requires periodic new filings. Registering now may provide some  benefits in litigation but generally is not worth the effort for most blogs. Also, as a proactive measure, include a copyright notice (You can add notice manually or using Wordpress plug-ins).