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by Nathaniel C. Fowler, JR   


COPYRIGHTS may be secured by making an application in writing to the Copyright Department, Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.

Copyrights may be secured for practically every kind of book, including composite books, encyclopedias, directories, and gazetteers. Periodicals, including newspapers, dramatical and musical compositions, works of art, including models or designs for works of art, reproductions of works of art, drawings or plastic works of a scientific character, figures, prints, pictorial illustrations, and motion-picture photo-plays, and motion pictures without photo-plays, may be copyrighted. A copyright may also be issued for lectures, sermons, and addresses, which are delivered and not printed or published.

The copyright gives to the author, or artist, or modeler, or to the publisher, or owner of the work, exclusive rights to make, use, print, publish, or sell the work in question for a term of twenty-eight years from date of publication or issue, or from the date of copyright entry if the work is not published.

At the expiration of the term provided for, the copyright may be renewed or extended by the author, if living, or by the widow, or widower, or children of the author, if the author is not living, or by the author's executors, or by his next of kin, for an additional twenty-eight years, or for fifty-six years in all. The process of securing a copyright is very simple. The would-be copyrighter should write to the Copyright Department, Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C, specifying the class of the article which he desires to copyright, and requesting the department to send him rules and regulations and application blanks. Postage stamps need not be enclosed for reply.

He will then fill out the blanks according to instructions, and forward them to the Copyright Office, enclosing a money order for one dollar.

There are no other fees. If a dollar bill is sent, the letter should be registered. Personal checks will not be accepted.

Within a few days, he will receive a certificate of copyright.

The services of a lawyer are not needed, as any one of ordinary intelligence can obtain a copyright. Should his application be faulty, the Copyright Office will return it with further instructions.

The majority of books are copyrighted by the publisher.

The line "Copyright, 1913, by John T. Smith" must appear on the title-page, or upon the page following the title-page, of the book, and must be written or printed on every copy of everything copyrighted.

Articles or stories, either for syndicates or for exclusive publication, may be copyrighted, either by the author or publisher; but if published in a copyrighted magazine or paper, the general copyright will cover them.

If the author or syndicate does its own copyrighting, the line "Copyright, 1913, by John T. Smith" must appear either at the beginning or at the close of the article or story.

Foreign copyrights may be secured, but as the process is somewhat complicated, I would refer the reader to any good publisher.

A copyrighted book or story cannot be dramatized without the consent of the owner of the copyright. The copyright covers the book, or story, or article in its entirety, but does not protect the title of it. For example, let us suppose that you have written a book entitled, " The Career of John Smith." The copyright will prevent any one else from publishing a book, in whole or in part, similar to yours, but the owner of the copyright cannot legally stop the use of the same title for any work which is not a copy of his.

Reputable publishers, however, will not duplicate the title of a book. This, however, is occasionally done by accident.

In several magazines and newspapers, there are appearing advertisements of so-called literary associations, which, by indirection, circulate the impression that they have special facilities for copyrighting, and some of them state that Washington is the only place where copyrights can be secured. The latter statement is correct, but application for copyright can be made by mail, and has to be made in writing anyway.

There is absolutely no need of applying for it in person at the Copyright Office in Washington, by the author or by his agent. There is no reason why the author should pay a fee beyond the dollar required by the Government for the securing of a copyright.

A copyright may be transferred by its owner, within the life of the copyright, by any instrument of writing. It is simply a bill-of-sale or conveyance. This transfer should be registered in the Copyright Office. The party to whom a copy-right is transferred should send the original bill-of-sale or conveyance to the Copyright Office within three months of its execution. Copyrights may be bequeathed by will.