[Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Copyright Companion for Writers © 2007 Tonya M. Evans. This excerpt may be “shared socially” and republished provided this post is copied in its entirety and copyright information is included for attribution]
Revisions and Updates
Problems of registration emerge when a Web site is updated frequently. The question arises as to whether it is necessary to register the site after each update. For individual works the answer, technically, is yes because there is no comprehensive registration to cover revisions published on different dates. Therefore, each daily update would have to be registered separately. As an attorney, I recommend that you do register each update to be fully protected. I recognize, however, that this would require much work, and I acknowledge that most people don’t follow this practice because they find it to be impractical. If you are like most people, then I suggest that you make it a practice to register your Web site every three months. If you do that, then you will be entitled to statutory damages and attorney fees if you ever have to sue someone for infringement. A different rule governs automated databases and serials because they qualify to use blanket registration (see below).
E-Newsletters and Other E-Serials
Electronic versions of newsletters and serials are also protected by copyright and can be registered with the Copyright Office in a single registration covering multiple issues published on different dates. Group registration is available for works published weekly or less often (serials) and for newsletters published daily or more often than weekly, including those published online. The requirements vary, depending on the type of work. See Copyright Office Circular 62 for more information on serials. Note that group registration is available only for collective works, such as a collection of articles or an anthology, and not for electronic journals published one article at a time.
The rules of copyright also apply to posts on blogs – both the blog owner’s posts and comments by visitors. The owner holds the copyright to the post, and visitors own the copyright to their comments. There seems to be at least some implied license granted by a commenter to the blog owner to display the comment, but it is not clear how far that implied license reaches. But this implied license does not work the other way; nonetheless, reports from blog owners about rampant cut-and-paste infringement from their blogs for unauthorized posting to other blogs are far too common, and present a troubling development in the blogosphere.
To protect your blog and yourself from potential infringement claims from bloggers, always post your copyright information and instructions on how bloggers can use your posts, if at all. At a minimum, require that the post be copied in full and that it keep your copyright information intact. You may also want to ask for a link back to your Web site or blog. Of course, you should also consider registering blog posts; if your blog is a regular series (i.e., serial), then follow the registration guidelines for e-serials.
Need more information?
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