How To Protect Your Writing
You pour your soul out on the pages of your writings. Your story, poem, or song lyrics are perfect.  Now you worry that someone will steal your ideas and use them as their own. It is important to know that you own your work. From the moment you put pen to paper or your fingers fly across the keyboard whatever you write or type has copyright protection. Legally it is your intellectual property. While it is safe to post your work online, here are some ways to ensure your work is protected.  
Poor man’s copyright:
Poor man’s copyright is simply mailing yourself a copy of your completed work. You should not open the envelope after you receive it. The date on the postage will prove when you completed the work. This method is not very reliable as it will not stand up in court because it can easily be faked, but it does offer some simple and cheap protection.
Protectrite: Protectrite is an instant online service that will for a fee time seal and encrypt your writing for a term of either 10 years or lifetime.  They also have free emergency file retrieval just in case you somehow lose your files or copies. This service is available to you when you submit a writing to under the create writing tab.  Their website is clear and user friendly.
WGA: The WGA or the Writers Guild of America provide online service similar to Protectrite. They also allow you to submit your writings in person or by mail for a fee. The WGA’s terms are five years and can be renewed. Find more information at
You can Copyright your works with the United States Copyright Office. If you register your works with the US Copyright Office you will have a public record and a certificate of registration.  This registration is good for the lifetime of the author. This is the most secure way of protecting yourself however, it is more expensive and may take anywhere from 5 months to 1 year to get your registration certificate. You may apply online, by mail or in person. Visit their website

LJ   LJ wrote
on 11/3/2015 3:22:03 PM
When i was a teenager i did a poor man's copyright for my songs but now that I'm a lot older and currently writing a novel I went to the United States Copyright Office and submitted a fee. Initially i thought that I would have had my certification but then i was told that there is a long list and the certificate can take up to six months to get! I was shocked to pay all of that money and not get my certification within a decent amount of time. I guess the only thing that I can do now is simply wait.

Ausgood   Ausgood wrote
on 7/30/2013 3:20:03 PM
Would the poor man's copyright work better if you mail a flash drive of your work? Not only is the date on the letter, but also on the saved file.

DonnaBarr   DonnaBarr wrote
on 5/25/2011 12:59:36 PM
Sites we all REALLY should read: Forget it if somebody's playing barracks lawyer. This is the law for the USA. If you're someplace else, you'll have your own site. If your country is a signatory THIS MEANS YOU. Just a good group for all of us. Join a union! AFL/CIO

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Advice on protecting your intellectual property.