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Although I offer the Freelancer's FAQ information free of charge, I'm finding that the costs of operating a web site are steadily increasing. If you find this information useful, a donation would be gladly appreciated.
Anne W.

Anne Wallingford, WordSmith


Freelancer's FAQ


Please note that United States Postal Service mail delivery to the Copyright Office has been disrupted since the middle of October. We do not know when mail delivery will resume. Private carrier express shipments generally are arriving without delay.
For more information, click here,

Who Owns the Copyright?

Through legislation, Congress and the courts have defined authors to include the requirement that a writer produce original work through intellectual labor. This has come to mean that anyone who expresses an idea in a tangible form—words, painting, sculpture, photograph, or music—is considered an author for copyright purposes.

When a freelancer produces a creative work, the freelancer is the copyright holder UNLESS the work is performed under a written contract specifically stating that the work is done as "work for hire" and both parties have signed the contract.

In other words, if you wrote an article, designed a website, or drew a cartoon, but did not sign a contract, the odds are that you retain ownership of the copyright. If there is no contract clearly stating that the work is done for hire, and signed by both parties, the copyright is retained by the author even if the work is done on commission or by special order.

However, the creator of an original work is not always considered the author. If the creator is a staff member being paid to create the work, the employer holds the copyright. Then again, if the creative work does not fall under the employee's normal job duties, the employee, as author, may possibly hold the copyright. Basically, the employer must ask the employee to do the work, and pay the employee for doing the work.

How Do I Protect Ownership of My Original Work?

To provide legal protection, all of an author's work should be copyrighted. As long you have placed the copyright legend on your work, federal law protects your work. A word of caution, though—your rights may not stand-up in court unless you have also registered your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

What is the Copyright Legend?

Using the copyright legend is the best way to protect your work. You cannot sue for copyright infringement unless your work carries the copyright legend AND you have sought copyright registration. Place the legend at the end of the work. Follow the format exactly.

In the United States, any of these legends can be used.

Format Sample
Copyright 1999 First Name Last Name Copyright 1999 Anne Wallingford
Copr. 1999 First Name Last Name Copr. 1999 Anne Wallingford
© 1999 First Name Last Name © 1999 Anne Wallingford

But, to comply with Universal Copyright Convention, which protects your work in all countries that have agreed to the Convention, you must include the © symbol.

Format Sample
©1999 First Name Last Name © 1999 Anne Wallingford

Some countries, especially those in Latin America, also require the phrase "All Rights Reserved." Therefore, the best legend to use is:
...... Format
© 1999 First Name Last Name. All rights reserved.
© 1999 Anne Wallingford. All rights reserved.

How Do I Register My Work?

Unfortunately, authors often think that copyrighting their work is difficult or expensive. It is neither!

Copyright Registration requirements are simple.

  1. All items must be delivered at the same time.
  2. Original application forms must be completed. (Photocopies are not acceptable.)
  3. Include the application fee, usually $20.00 U.S.
  4. Include a complete copy of an unpublished work or two complete copies of the best edition of a published work.

Increase In Copyright Fee

On July 1, 1999, Congress voted to increase the basic copyright registration fee for manuscripts and collections of freelance articles to $30.

For further information, or to find the increased fees of other materials, contact the Copyright Office, Library of Congress. (See below for contact information.)

Using a pen name? Register your work with the pen name.

For FREE copyright forms, contact:

Information and Publication
Section LM-455
Copyright Office Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20559-6000

Voice: 1-202-707-9100

Primary Copyright Forms

Form TX: for nondramatic literary works (Note: This is the form most often used by writers.)

Form PA: for works of the performing arts, including dramatic works
Form VA: For works of visual art (photographs, illustrations, etc.)

Additional Copyright Forms

Form GR/CP: for a group of works contributed to periodicals (adjunct used with one of the primary forms)

Form SE: for serials, such as magazines and newspapers
Form RE: for renewal of copyright granted under the 1909 Act
Form CA: for correcting a previously submitted form

© 1999 Anne Wallingfrod

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Friday, August 10, 2007