A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I want Hinchas de Poesia's first serious printing run to be for "Compound Memorandum" by Jim Foley, illustrated by Chaz Folgar. I don't think any of us stand to make a substantial amount of money selling our modest codex; but, with the logistical help of MagCloud, we can pursue the print-on-demand option and funnel traffic to the MagCloud website which handles all the printing and shipping.

Therefore, I have always wanted to know more about Copyright. Now seems like an opportune moment, so I picked up "Copyright Companion for Writers" (2007) by Tonya Evans-Walls, esq. It is part of the Literary Entrepreneur Series and comes with a CD-ROM. This particular iteration in the series is easy to read and is more or less a Dummy's Guide, just in a more svelte and purple body. In the first chapter alone there is a list of the major copyright legislation enacted since the founding of the country, and a brief description and contextualization of major modern pieces of copyright protection like the Visual Arts Right Act of 1990, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Evans-Walls writes to the lowest common denominator, which is a huge help when you are gathering information because it brings you to an abstract understanding pretty quickly. Let's just say that Evans-Walls writes in a way that is easily understood. So, if you are looking for specific answers, you can digest the whole book and your answer will surely come. For my purpose, I wanted to begin what would probably be a long journey, discovering what I can about Copyright. The first thing that caught my mind is that "Copyright exists automatically when a work is created...a work is created when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. By 'copy' the law means material objects...from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."(11)

According to this book, "as soon as you write the first two paragraphs of your book...it is automatically copyrighted--even if you don't get around to writing the third paragraph until a week or a year later". (11) In terms of years that copyright lasts, Evans-Walls informs us that "For works created on or after January 1, 1978, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years after the author's death." (12) This book even suggest ways in which you "Show the World that You Own Your Work." One of these ways is by adding the copyright notice. The notice needs to contain these three elements: the copyright symbol, the year, and the name of the author.

The frontispiece for "Compound Memorandum" is going to have a copyright statement that looks something like this, © 2010 by James Foley and under it will go the copyright statement for Chaz Folgars illustrations, © 2010 by Chaz Folgar. So I guess you could say that Hinchas de Poesia doesn't own the copyrights to these works but has the explicit permission from both author and illustrator to reproduce and sell a product that contains both. Does that make sense to you because it kind of makes sense to me. Under it though, should also go the phrase, All Rights Reserved, so people know not to fuck around with my copyright gangsta.

Last, I used to think that mailing something to yourself was a way to copyright something because the stamp provided by the U.S.P.S. would hold up in a court of law...and that simply isn't true. Or as Evans-Walls says, "the only thing that you will prove when you mail your work to yourself is that the post office is still in the business of delivering mail" (24). In other words, "the action of mailing a copy of your manuscript to yourself does not offer any additional protection beyond that which already exists once your idea is fixed and thus your work is created" (25).

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