J.V. Jones
June 13th : 2008

Beginning writers can be nervous about copyright. It's a common misconception that work must be submitted to some official body or stamped with a copyright symbol in order to be protected. This is not true. Copyright is simple: you write it, and whatever it is you've written is automatically copyrighted until 70 years after your death. No copyright notice is required. Your work must be written (or painted or sculpted or photographed etc). It can't simply be an idea or a conversation about an idea (unless it's taped). It must have tangible form. Once it has tangible form, say words on a page, it's yours and you have exclusive rights to reproduce it. Practically speaking this means that you don't need a copyright notice on your manuscript or partial. It's not considered good form. Professional editors and agents know the law.