Should I Copyright My Poetry?
It is likely that it is already copyrighted. Copyright is automatic under U.S. laws, and your work is inherently protected the moment it is created and put in tangible form (In a book or published by The Literary Librarian, etc.). United States Copyright Office (External link)
However, you may want to register a copyright if you wish to file a lawsuit alleging a copyright infringement. By registering a copyright, you are potentially entitled to greater damages if and when you go to court. Registration is not a condition of copyright protection.
The Literary Librarian and Copyright Laws
All Poems submitted to The Literary Librarian, by the poet, are published as the poet’s original work and under the poet’s copyright. The Literary Librarian may display and publish any poem submitted to this site, by the poet, always as the poet’s original work and under the poet’s own copyright. A The Literary Librarian copyright and symbol may be displayed at the bottom of the poetry post to discourage theft from visitors to the online journal, but that copyright is to the entire post, not to the poem, which is automatically copyrighted to the poet.
If The Literary Librarian ever decides to post famous poetry, all poetry by famous poets, not submitted by the poet, is provided for educational research only. The Copyright Law of the United States Of America (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.”
The Literary Librarian adheres to copyright laws for intellectual material (literary and artistic material, music, films, sound recordings and broadcasts, including software and multimedia), and generally acquires public domain or creative commons licensed music for poetry videos that are displayed on the website. For the procedures of publishing, duplicating, distributing and listing of the poems published on theliterarylibrarian.com in any other media, US copyright laws, international copyright agreements and other relevant legislation are applicable. Such procedures require the permission, not of The Literary Librarian, but of the Poet. The one concerned with such requests, is not The Literary Librarian, but the poet. The poet holds the publishing rights to the poems posted on The Literary Librarian. The fact that a poem is being published on theliterarylibrarian.com does not mean that the poet (or their representative) agrees to have this poem be published on all sites on the Internet.
Copyright, according to US law, vests upon the creation of a work. The copyright notice under each poem at this website is an indication of this, not of a registration by a member of her work with the Library of Congress.
By registering, entering, or submitting a poem to The Literary Librarian, the person/poet concerned agrees that the relevant poem can be published by The Literary Librarian, always as the poet’s original work and under the poet’s own copyright.
The rights of all the other writings, materials, pictures, methods, codes and figures in electronic or physical media on this site, belong to The Literary Librarian. These materials cannot be duplicated or used without prior written approval. Exceptions to this rule are images that are public domain, and images that are the photography or artwork of individuals submitting to The Literary Librarian journal.
If all images in a poetry post are public domain images, that fact is noted at the bottom of the poetry post directly beneath the Literary Librarian’s post copyright, and the image is, of course, available for the public to use. Photographs or artwork that are not public domain are the property of the artist or photographer who created them. When these images are submitted to the journal for publication, they are copyrighted to the artist or photographer, and they are credited to the artist or the photographer in the post where their work is displayed. These images may not be duplicated or used without prior written approval from the artist or photographer.
The Literary Librarian has a publishing policy that strictly adheres to the US copyright laws and the international copyright rules.
Should a Poet request that we reprint their poem, which has been previously published by another publication, The Literary Librarian will attempt to contact the previous publisher to request permission to reprint. If there is no response from the previous publisher within a week of attempted contact, and the publication date on the poem to be reprinted has passed a year since its original publication, we will reprint it without the previous publisher’s permission, as we have the Poet’s permission. As the Poet owns the copyright to all their own poetry, the Poet’s permission is all that The Literary Librarian needs to publish any poem submitted by the Poet.
However, the aforementioned request submitted to the previous publisher to reprint the poem and the week-long wait for a response are a gesture of deference to the previous publisher. As a fellow publisher, The Literary Librarian would like to show other publishers polite etiquette and proper courtesy. Any reprinted poetry post on The Literary Librarian will mention the previous publisher in the poetry post as a courtesy and mark of respect to the original publisher.