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A design is copyrighted the moment it is created. If you want to register your copyright (assuming you're int he United States) you need to do that through the US Copyright Office:

U.S. Copyright Office - Registering a Work (FAQ)

It's $35.

I'm no attorney, but my opinion is that registering your copyright is not necessary. As long as you can show that you created a design (or purchased an original design from a designer and had ownership/copyright rights transferred), you're protected. Registering the copyright is an additional protection, but one that is rarely if ever needed.
 

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You can take an extra step to add a layer of proof as to when you created the design rather easy. I've heard this called the "******* copyright." Simply print off your design, put it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. Once you receive it from the post office simply file it away and you will always have a government agency's proof of creation date in the form of the postage mark on the envelope.


Mitchell - Star Designs
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I just had a meeting about copyright and trademark laws last Thursday. On anything you create you can add the little TM in a circle and it basically tells people that you created it and do not want it copied, the little R in a circle is only used when you registered it federally. I was also informed that it has to be registered federally if you are fighting in court over the design being stolen. You have two months to register it once the design is made publicly viewable. You can register it in your state for you to have it protected too.... This is where it got confusing and I started having my mind wander away.... The local state registration is for small claims loss which you can get even if it isn't registered, but the federal court will only hear federally registered cases.... I was mostly meeting to get info on verbiage on my contract to protect me when using a customers image they bring to me to modify or use on products they want me to make.... Since I am not going to investigate that a logo or image a customer provides is theirs to legally use I wanted my contract to state what they bring to me is theirs and if I get sued for using that image they had no rights to, they are liable for my legal fees and any negative outcome of a case......
 

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You can take an extra step to add a layer of proof as to when you created the design rather easy. I've heard this called the "******* copyright." Simply print off your design, put it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. Once you receive it from the post office simply file it away and you will always have a government agency's proof of creation date in the form of the postage mark on the envelope.


Mitchell - Star Designs
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Sorry, this is incorrect, and been proven false time and time again. :)
 

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I just had a meeting about copyright and trademark laws last Thursday. On anything you create you can add the little TM in a circle and it basically tells people that you created it and do not want it copied, the little R in a circle is only used when you registered it federally. I was also informed that it has to be registered federally if you are fighting in court over the design being stolen. You have two months to register it once the design is made publicly viewable. You can register it in your state for you to have it protected too.... This is where it got confusing and I started having my mind wander away.... The local state registration is for small claims loss which you can get even if it isn't registered, but the federal court will only hear federally registered cases.... I was mostly meeting to get info on verbiage on my contract to protect me when using a customers image they bring to me to modify or use on products they want me to make.... Since I am not going to investigate that a logo or image a customer provides is theirs to legally use I wanted my contract to state what they bring to me is theirs and if I get sued for using that image they had no rights to, they are liable for my legal fees and any negative outcome of a case......
I think you're trying to combine trademark and copyright. They are two different things entirely. The OP asked about copyrighting designs. Individual designs are copyrighted, and brand names are trademarked.

Like I said previously, a work is copyrighted the INSTANT it is created. Also, I think you mean the "C" inside the circle, not the TM. You can place a "TM" on your brand name to show intent of filing for the trademark. You can place the "C" inside of an unregistered design. It only shows that you're claiming that the content belongs to you, and that again, it was copyrighted when you created it.

Also, there is no state copyright. There is state trademark, but that's different. Copyrighting works is strictly a federal matter, not state.
 

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Copyright, trademark.... Ahhh, I know that not just a brand name though... Like a graphic image, the Golden Arches, a baby with a dog pulling down the diaper.... And a slogan can be trademarked..... It is crazy how many "keep calm" sayings have been trademarked lately..... But the one thing for sure is run it by a good lawyer to be sure.... I know I got what I wanted from the sbc meeting I went to but the final version of my invoice is going by a lawyer to make sure it looks good and even then it won't be perfect.....
 

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Copyright, trademark.... Ahhh, I know that not just a brand name though... Like a graphic image, the Golden Arches, a baby with a dog pulling down the diaper.... And a slogan can be trademarked..... It is crazy how many "keep calm" sayings have been trademarked lately.....
To be eligible for trademark registration, the mark (brand name, logo, slogan, etc) needs to be used to identify a source of goods or services. A work of art, such as a t-shirt design, would be protected under copyright.
 

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Greg are you aware of any "case law" that shows one way or another on this? I realize it is not written in laws I am aware of, however, I have never seen a court case where this has been rejected...
In addition to Tim's link, here's one from an Intellectual Property Law firm:
News Articles: The Poor Man's Copyright Myth - Intellectual Property Counsel & Litigation


As Tim said, it's not allowed in court in the US. Since it's not even allowed to be introduced into court, there would obviously be no case law regarding it.

I would suggest seriously researching some IP law yourself. Some of it can get a little complicated, but the basics are there and can be easily understood. At the very least learn the fact from the fiction.;)
 

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As Tim said, it's not allowed in court in the US. Since it's not even allowed to be introduced into court, there would obviously be no case law regarding it.
That make no sense to me...I have read enough court transcripts over the years (I was an insurance adjuster in the past) and saw lots of example where evidence was not allowed into the proceedings, however, the record reflected the inadmissibility of such evidence and why it was inadmissible.......
 

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That make no sense to me...I have read enough court transcripts over the years (I was an insurance adjuster in the past) and saw lots of example where evidence was not allowed into the proceedings, however, the record reflected the inadmissibility of such evidence and why it was inadmissible.......
I guess the disconnect then is what you deem "case law".

Case law comes from actual judicial rulings in the adjudication of a case. Just because something is in a record as inadmissable, doesn't make it "case law".

The fact is that there is no case where it was allowed, then upon it being allowed, ruled in its favor. If it were, then that would be case law.

But, a judge just not letting someone use it as evidence isn't case law. That's just a ruling on evidence.

It's like proving a negative. You want me to show you were it wasn't allowed. That's a hard thing to do without looking through cases myself to see individual rulings on evidence in cases.

It's much easier to see if it's ever been allowed. And the answer to that is no, and for the very reasons Tim and said.

It's also important to note that case law comes about because there aren't statutes that already deal with a particular issue. Then a ruling comes down and is then considered law...case law.

Here in this instance, the US Copyright office tells us how and when a work is copyrighted, and the steps taken to register it. Just because people come up with a way that they *think* should work, doesn't mean that it's correct.

This is taken directly from the US Copyright Office website:

I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
Here's the link:
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html
 

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But, a judge just not letting someone use it as evidence isn't case law. That's just a ruling on evidence.
If this were the case, IMO the "ruling on evidence" would be reflected in the "case law", "judgement", "court record", etc......

While it would be "foolish" to reply on a "poor man's copyright" it certainly does not hurt you do it any way....
 

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If this were the case, IMO the "ruling on evidence" would be reflected in the "case law", "judgement", "court record", etc......
Again, that's not what "case law" is.:) It may be reflected in the "record" but that's not case law, which is what you asked about.

Like I said, I'm sure there are court records of people being denied using it, but then finding them would be a matter of searching through every IP case that ever existed trying to find where someone tried to use something (poor man's copyright) that isn't allowed.

I guess I don't see the point in even trying, when everything on record about it says that it's not allowed to be used to show registration/ownership/copyright.


While it would be "foolish" to reply on a "poor man's copyright" it certainly does not hurt you do it any way....
What's the point of doing it if it's foolish to rely on it?:confused:

There are lots of things that won't hurt you to do them, but they won't help you. Just like all of the other things you could do that won't hurt, it's just simply a waste of time. I could give it to my dog and let him bury it in the backyard. It won't hurt, but it also won't help. The poor man's copyright won't help you.
 

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Like I said, I'm sure there are court records of people being denied using it, but then finding them would be a matter of searching through every IP case that ever existed trying to find where someone tried to use something (poor man's copyright) that isn't allowed
Now you got what I am looking for....I do not dispute that the law exists, however, I have never found anything other than "opinions" to say that it actually got "booted out of court"...That is what I am still looking for....A legal record that says so....Until that time I do not remain "100%" convinced it "will not work"....99% convinced maybe....

Now having said that, I think it is wise to invest the 35.00 to file the copyright....But i saw somewhere that less the 25% of artists ever do this....
 
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