7 Reasons Copyrighting Your Art is a Waste of Time

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/666175 by Daniel Duchon http://elduchon.es/blog/Someone stealing your book seems to be every author’s nightmare.

Let’s think this through:

  • someone finds your book or song
  • they think it’s worth stealing in its entirety
  • they publish it as their own
  • it becomes a big hit and makes them lots of money

For that to happen, we have to get past all this:

  1. It’s hard enough to get found by people who just want to read your book, let alone thieves
  2. They would have to steal all of it, or take parts of it completely unchanged, not just the idea
  3. They would have to do the work of publishing it
  4. They would have to do the work of marketing it
  5. It would have to be good enough to become a hit
  6. It would have to be a big enough hit for you to hear about it
  7. You would have to sue them in court. The one and only value of registering your copyright is that it allows you to recover money in court. It has nothing to do with establishing ownership, and if you don’t register your copyright, it doesn’t prevent you from publicly calling out and shaming the losers who plagiarize.

This assumes many things:

  • your work is brilliant
  • there are people who would rather steal your art than someone’s credit card number
  • they’re so lazy they’ll steal but so diligent and hard-working they’ll prepare your art for publication and then do the single hardest part of making art a hit, the marketing
  • and that this work of art will be one of the rarest of things, a true hit.

Basing 100% of your decision on the 0.00001% possibility messes up the other 99.99999%.

2 thoughts on “7 Reasons Copyrighting Your Art is a Waste of Time

    1. I know people who don’t find it so amusing.

      Me? I’m with you.

      Friend named Scott Andrew wrote a post a hundred years ago entitled “Not Worth Stealing” about a band that found 3 songs from their new album on a filesharing site and he asked, what was wrong with the other 7 songs?

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