Copyright, Anyone? What to Do to Protect It

Have you ever had a rude awakening? The kind when you find a written work, realize it’s your own and somebody else posted or reproduced it without your knowledge? What’s worse, you are not acknowledged and, worst, he is taking all the credit. I have, twice or thrice, and I’m sure many more writers have.

stealing-copyrighted-worksThe fight for copyrights has been a problem then, it is more of a problem now that it’s gotten easier to copy and paste. So yes, let’s discuss about copyrights. After all, as creative artists, it is very important that we have our IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) protected.

It’s not that we are being selfish, but it is only to keep the unscrupulous from taking credit for what we own. Or at least, to make those who are not aware, well, aware that they simply cannot copy somebody else’s work without permission and/or without giving the author credit. It’s still property theft.

Cybercrime laws, under which copyright infringement or violation issues also fall, vary from country to country, if those laws are present at all. In fact, just last year, the Philippines just passed its Cybercrime Prevention Act. However, due to a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court, it has yet to be implemented—too many fears expressed by local and international netizens and, IMHO, not unfounded.

The widely accepted international laws are the ones created back in the 1800s, at the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, though they have undergone revisions. So in this century, how can we try to protect what are ours?

For writers (and for other artists, I think practically the same principles apply), these are what I know:

1. Any original idea or work, once put on whatever kind of writing pad—whether online or on actual paper, maybe handwritten or typewritten (or drawn), could be printed out or saved (CD, USB, computer hard drive, diskette or floppy discs if you’re still old school)—becomes your property.

It doesn’t really have to be published anywhere nor do you have to indicate that it belongs to you, if ever it does get published online and in other media. It is, of course, recommended that you indicate it’s yours all the same. Some people are still a bit clueless on how things work, so spoonfeed them for your own sake.

2. The truth of the matter is, it’s your work, thus, the rights over it belongs to you. Do what you will with it. That is, unless you sell your rights to it, like when you get paid so that a publication can use your piece. In that case, the publication owns it. You cannot reuse it somewhere to get paid, else you want a lawsuit slapped on you.

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3. Practically the same thing if you make a deal with a publisher and guest post/blog for them. They get to publish something for free, you get exposure for free. It’s like reciprocal linking, except better and more ethical. Normally, the agreement is they publish your piece for you but it doesn’t appear anywhere else, not even in your blog.

4. It is up to you to decide who gets to repost your work, or if you’ll ever allow anyone. So as preventive measure—though I repeat that you really do not have to—you can say,“This work belongs to me. Please do not reproduce without my permission” or something similar.

You may also add something like this: Copyright © 2013 J.Gi Federizo. Some have the date/year and symbol interchanged, but the important thing is the symbol © and your name are there.

Some use “(c)” rather than © but most do not recognize that and I am not sure if it’s really accepted by the law. I think the only reason it gets used is because the person typing does not know yet how to insert the symbol. (Tip: Visit sites and copy-paste the symbol from below the pages. Or if you’re using Word, either click “Insert” then “Special Character” and find it, or simply type “(c)” and click on the space bar and it will most probably automatically take the form of the symbol. Easy as pie…Actually, pie is harder).

5.There is such a term, too, called “copyleft,” no joke. According to The UK Copyright Service,“Copyleft is a term that describes a copyright licencing scheme where the author surrenders some of his rights. Typically a copyleft licence will allow a work to be freely copied, distributed or adapted, provided that all copies or modified versions are also freely available under the same licence.”

my-creative-commons-attribution

You decide what and/or how much access others can have on your works by choosing from options and posting an image of the Unported License in your blog for instance. Like this one that I posted in my Copyrights Place page

Creative Commons is one great example of copyleft licensing. Submit a creation or your website and be “given” the rights to it/them. You have several options to choose from, based on how much access you are allowing others to have on what you own, including possible use for commercial purposes. All you need to do is follow the instructions, read well and choose well.

6. To make it more official, you can actually “obtain” rights by submitting to the proper authorities assigned to check and grant those rights. In the Philippines (where I am), you can submit to the Copyright Division of the National Library of the Philippines.

7. In this modern world, it doesn’t hurt to try older means. I have read years ago that you could snail-mail to yourself copies of your work. That way, they will stamp on the envelop the date when you send it.

DO NOT OPEN once you receive it and just keep it. You will only do this in case somebody gets credit for your work. You can show that you were first, therefore, the rightful owner, based on the envelop. Only then can it be opened in court, in front of the judge. Thus, it is important to show that the envelop has never been opened or tampered with.

[Ed. UPDATE: Well, shame on me, but I just found out this is what is termed as Poor Man’s Copyright. Sorry I didn’t know of it before. Apparently, though, this “supposed” proof of one’s copyright will not hold in court, most sites discussing it are saying. But different sources do tend to differ. In the US, this is not accepted, but in the UK, it is another story. I do have this to say, though: As long as you are sure you can trust your postal service and as long as you make sure you are the first one ever to create a copy and send the material to yourself and to never reveal when exactly you created it, perhaps, this proof can help in times of need. Do make sure you do other means of protecting your copyright. This should just serve as supporting evidence. Just saying.)  

copyright-through-mailsAs an alternative or additional precaution, I try emailing my works to myself as well so there’s less chance of losing my copies and, should it come to it, computer forensics can prove when you emailed them. I send to at least two email accounts as I’ll never know when an account can get hacked or whatever. You might want to do this, too.


There you go! I hope you find any of these tips/information helpful. Did you? Feel free to correct/update me or add anything through the comments. Your inputs are very much welcome. We aim to share what we know to the writing community.

Keep on writing!!!

I really like how she writes her experiences and insights. I expect her to compile everything and create a novel about her Adventures and (Mis)Adventures as a Mom. I am reblogging this one article. ENJOY!!!

Live Now and Zen

“Behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is messing it up.” ~ Anonymous

Last week my sons spent an entire school day shadowing at a new school we’re applying to for next year, a school for children who have learning disabilities. This was the final step in our application process, and I was a bit apprehensive when I dropped them off. Seven hours can be an eternity when you’re the new kid. I wanted the day to go well for them and I hoped they would be on their best behavior. I held my breath. At the end of the day, the Director of Admissions sat down to talk with me. The first words out of her mouth were, “You have great boys.” After having observed them throughout the day, she told me they were courteous, well-behaved, hardworking, and sweet. The teachers they had spent…

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Homerun / Children of Heaven

homerun-movie-poster

While laden with political undertones, Jack Neo‘s Homerun, the Singaporean adaptation of the Iranian original Children of Heaven managed to be quite touching as a family drama with two kids playing the main roles. Image from HERE.

Tip: If you really want to see me cry by watching a movie, then it better be about family. I cried buckets just watching the Singaporean flick Homerun (Pao Ba Hai Zi) on TV.

The movie is actually an adaptation of the Iranian original entitled Bacheha-Ye-aseman or Children of Heaven by filmmaker Majid Majidi. However, according to other reviews I’ve encountered,  this new version by director Jack Neo did not exactly copy off the whole story of the original and Neo added flavors of his own. I have not seen the original, though, and therefore cannot make any kind of comment. [Ed. Please read my update at the end]

Set in 1965, Homerun centers on Ah Kun (Shawn Lee), his sister Seow Fang (Megan Zheng), and their seeming obsession with finding a new pair of shoes for the girl. If they cannot achieve that specific goal, at least, they have to find the old ones that Kun lost. The very significance of the goal becomes understandable from the start. Their family lives in poverty with the father taking all the odd jobs he can find and the mother heavy with a baby. Them being so poor, the siblings know that their family cannot anymore afford to buy yet a new pair of shoes.

To solve the problem, Kun and Fang end up using the same worn-out pair that Kun owns. Fang wears them to school in the morning and gets into trouble with her teacher scolding her for wearing boys’ shoes that are even too large for her. Kun wears them in the afternoon and gets into deeper trouble with the principal always catching him going to school late. What makes things doubly hard is they keep the problem a secret to spare the parents from further worry. This only creates complications. In his desperation, Kun is forced to swallow his pride and submit to rich boy Ben Soon‘s (Joshua Ang…In reviews, the character is Ming Soon) demands and conditions just to acquire new shoes for his beloved sister.

Homerun has a familiar, universal theme – poverty. However, the actual theme, if you concentrate on the movie alone, is family love as well as friendship. If you concentrate further and are familiar with Singapore’s political history, you will further find underlying messages that Neo did not exactly try to hide. I am, of course, under no authority to comment on this, so I will leave the debate on those who do have authority. Personally, I am more touched by the family love theme. This is what I will concentrate on.

It was very commendable of Kun to be so loving and caring for his family, especially for his little sister. The things he did just to replace her shoes and make her smile again surely melted my heart. She was no ungrateful wench either. In her quiet way, Fang appreciated his efforts, never got mad at him, and actually cared for her big brother as well. Both were just victims of poverty, symbolized by the shoes they so wanted. Or by the lack of shoes, to be more specific. You’d have to be touched by the sacrifices the kids had to make, especially Kun when he joined a race and, in his belief, “lost”. His loyal friends, at least, were always there to try and help as much as they could, which was also touching.

This movie certainly makes it up my list of favorites. I highly recommend it as a family drama. It is a very well-made story, simple and direct, the best way to get your message across. You’d want your audience to focus on one or two character(s), not bombard them with others’ sub-plots. Too much ingredients and flavor sometimes ruin the taste.

The characters in Homerun were well-developed. There were no mysteries that needed to be solved, save from who got the old shoes. No high-tech presentations. After all, it was 1965. Certainly no hysterics. There were crying scenes, yes, but mostly, the situations and long faces would make you do all the crying yourself. If you were me, anyway. The kids were very good actors, particularly Zheng who became co-winner of the Best Newcomer category and gave the movie its first-ever Golden Horse award.

The movie wasn’t very sad all through-out, though. In fact, there were a lot of funny scenes, especially with Kun’s friends providing the comic relief. There’s the stereo-typical fat kid who’s supposed to be considered ugly and called pig, but other than that, I have no complaints.

For me, this movie – as a movie – deserves FIVE STARS. No questions asked. 

5 stars

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UPDATE!!! I spoke too soon about the No-questions-asked thing. I was already considering reposting the above review some few weeks back (I wrote this several years ago) when recently, at the seminar I attended, we were shown the Iranian film aforementioned. Indeed, the main plot was there, and I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed because the Singaporean filmmaker took a LOT of liberty copying the original. I won’t elaborate anymore.

Now I was thinking that Jack Neo just lost one fan in me. He did clearly state at the start that it was an adaptation of the Iranian original. Even so, I am changing my rating to THREE STARS out of five stars. It is still one of my faves mainly because it was the first I saw and to be fair, many stuff were indeed added.

Now, to give merit to the original, I like it as well, despite some parts that I didn’t really appreciate.

I commend Majid Majidi for a job really well done! There was certainly an endearing innocence in his main characters. I didn’t really like the father very well, but I liked the much simpler and charmingly funnier plot, made me believe it could happen to kids, that that was a more realistic scenario. Now I’ve got one more title to add to my faves list. FOUR STARS!!!    

4 stars

children-of-heaven

The original version of the story of two kids sharing one pair of worn-out shoes…Image from HERE.

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Have you seen any of these two flicks? Or did you get to see both? What can you say? How would you compare one to the other? Let me know what you think and post a comment! I was thinking of running a poll asking which you like better and using WP’s poll feature. But I’m thinking, rather see people post comments and see how many like what movie. Better to be more visible 🙂

For more reviews in this blog, kindly visit the Review Section of my VIEW BOX. I am posting old and new stuff.

The Newbie Writer’s List of Must-Haves

“Tricks are for posers. Instead, focus on what resources you have and don’t have. Start with the WEB CONTENT WRITER’S NEWBIE TOOLKIT, your list of simple must-haves and could-dos that should help you prepare and hopefully land writing jobs.”

What are these? Here, let me break it down for you at GuestBlogList:

THE WEB CONTENT WRITER’S NEWBIE TOOLKIT

list-of-what-a-new-writer-needs

Listed are practical ways for any new web content writer to consider. They are simple and mostly basic, with a few more tips thrown in

Feel free to LIKE, Tweet, Pin it, share…Just link to it or to the published article itself. If you have other stuff that we can include in the list, let us know! Leave a comment below 🙂

How to Spot a Bad Writer

“You’ve read all about the importance of proper web content writing to a business like yours…you are now ready to find a content writer for your site. The question is, how do you distinguish good writers from a large pool of them?”

I’ve just shared my answers at TechAndScience.com:

The Five Writers You Don’t Want: Spotting the Bad Apple

how-to-spot-a-bad-writer

You need a writer. Do you know how to spot the bad writers from the good ones? Know the five types of writers to avoid to save you time, money and energy.

Please feel free to LIKE, Tweet, and do whatever you do with Google Plus. Share away!!! Just please make sure you link to here or the article itself 🙂

Practical Tips to Hire a Web Content Writer

“So, you want to hire a web content writer, eh? How do you do that exactly? Well, there are a few things to consider. Few, but they still require your great leader’s instincts so that you may be able to decide properly.”

Let me share to you my very sound tips at InsightEmpire.com:

PRACTICAL TIPS TO HIRE A WEB CONTENT WRITER

how-to-hire-a-web-content-writer

How do you hire a web content writer? Here are some practical tips to guide you.

Feel free to LIKE, Tweet, Pin it, share…Just link to it or to the published article itself. If you have other stuff that we can include in the list, let us know! Leave a comment below 🙂