Copyright Protection & Digital Distribution
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I understand that copyright laws protect all forms of my curricula and books. But how can copyrights really protect digital materials, eBooks, PDF files, etc? From what I hear, most BIG publishers effectively protect their copyrights for digital materials by "licensing" it to the users and watermark it accordingly. Are there similar services available to independent writers and small publishers? For instance, if I allow teachers to download my books from the Internet, can't they just send copies of them to others even though doing so is copyright infringement? Is licensing such material the only alternative to protecting books that are distributed digitally?
  • Emily, I started a discussion, Watermarking & Micropublishing, in this group when I was alerted to a potential solution to rampant copyright infringement on the Web. More information can be found in that discussion. In a nutshell, during my school's Spring Break, I contacted many Internet sites which help writers publish and sell "soft-copies" of their works on the Web. Way too much time was spent listening to sales pitches, and I almost gave up. None of them actually protect eBooks, PDF and ePub files. Finally, at the very end of my list, one site emerged that really seems to care about connecting readers to writers and protecting authors' works from, as the founder puts it, "digital piracy." The founder of SavoirSoft actually listened to my needs. He recommended other sites to investigate, and he did not try to "sell" me. I was impressed with his advice and openness. Seems pretty rare these days. I am concerned that his site, services and system are so new. They just started in January after 18 months developing a special system that uses intellectual property laws (think iTunes Store) to help authors protect their digital copyrights. However, I think I'll give them a try despite this. I won't be ready to publish until after school lets out anyway. So by then, they will be a few months more mature. And in my kindergarten world, that's a long time. Hope this helps. LK
  • I just saw this. Great question. I am anxiously awaiting the answer as well. I sent my manuscript to the US Copyright Office in Washington with a fee for a copyright. On their website, indications were that although my certificate won't arrive for about a year, the actual copyright begins upon receipt. However protected by law, I now wonder about Internet proliferation.