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Thread: Question on copyrighting

  1. #1
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed
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    Question on copyrighting

    Can a collection of short stories be copyrighted? I am about to self-publish on Amazon a collection of ten short stories (for fun, mostly) and I realized I never copyrighted this. However, because I sent it out once for consideration, I do remember sending it somewhere for protection (I'm thinking it must have been WGA).

    I logged in to my electronic copyright account at the Library of Congress (where I've copyrighted screenplays and a book) and, after reading the qualifications, I am confused as to whether a collection can be copyrighted. Something I was remembering in the back of my mind seemed to indicate that maybe only three stories maximum can be copyrighted at a time. I was therefore wondering if anyone had any info on this.

    Quite frankly, I'm not terribly worried about it not being copyrighted (especially if I did in fact register it at WGA -- I should check that, but I think it's a bit of a pain to ask the organization to look it up). Plus, interestingly enough, in this day and age, I would think emailing it to oneself -- and the email I used to send it out -- would suffice as proof (I think I even have it sitting in one of those submission systems). Only thing is, this is a theme that is very locally-inspired, and I would think others either have had or will have the same anthology concept pop into their heads at some point.

    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Administrator Lobotomized Dan Hocker's Avatar
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    Technically it's your work so it always falls under copyright law as long as you can prove it's your work. Usually on collections you see each story copyrighted individually. Than listed as such on the copyright page. So yes you can copyright it.
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  3. #3
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    Generally speaking, you can register a group of unpublished works together as long as you follow the statutory requirements. For published works, the individual works all must be published for the first time.
    Here is a link that might help. http://www.copyright.gov/eco/help-type.html See the sections about what can be included in a single application AND the part on collective works as being separately registerable (as selection and editing) apart from the individual stories that make up the collection.

    Keep in mind, you cant copyright an idea or concept. And emailing it to yourself doesn't really accomplish anything.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies, Dan and Brian, they were helpful.

    I checked out the link...I did not see that at the site. If I read this correctly, I can copyright an anthology. As Dan said, there are individual copyright notices on collections, but if it is the same author (in my case, I wrote all the stories), it looks like I can do it just like a book. But I will double-check to see if my interpretation is correct.

    Thanks again...

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