Yesterday, September 19, 2014 I finally took another step towards the publication of "High Maintenance." I applied for a U.S. Copyright.
Let's simply say that this process was not easy. In fact, it took two college educated individuals several hours to navigate through the pages of the form. We both had difficulties, at times, understanding how to proceed from page to page. We would begin to answer a question and then, would have second doubts as to if it was done correctly. I was working with a gifted graphic designer who knows how to work his way through the computer and online forms. However, he was overwhelmed by the U.S. Copyright's site. I was beginning to understand why other writers have mentioned (on various online sites such as Linked In) that they do not even bother applying for a copyright. But, to me, this process was essential. After spending four years writing this book, it was important that it be protected.
When I was at Temple University, I spent my last semester taking "Law and Ethics of Mass Communications." The textbook was massive in size. It weighed a ton -- okay, a mere exaggeration but since I only weighted 98 pounds at the time, it was a heavy load in my backpack. The class was early. If I recall correctly, it began at 8 a.m. My brain was barely awake at that hour. In addition, I spent the entire semester totally "lost." I never (despite my greatest attempts) understood anything we read or discussed. Even with the assistance of a legal expert (My Mom had me consult with a judge in the Philadelphia court system who had his law clerk helping me throughout the semester.) I never understood anything -- I felt "stupid" and "completely overwhelmed."
Before class began, I knew two things. There was libel and slander. One pertained to the written word; the other, to the spoken word. When the semester was over, I knew this ... if I were ever accused of either, I would hire an attorney. Even my instructor gave me "points" for this and, although I managed to pass the class, it was not without many nights of anxiety attacks.
I also learned that getting a copyright was always the smart thing to do when you wanted to protect a piece of work you created. Most of what I did throughout my career was protected via the publication I wrote for -- my work was within the collected pieces that were protected by the magazine or newspaper. Again, I am not a lawyer so don't ask my any specifics. I just know that a copyright is a good thing to have and my book, "High Maintenance," could not proceed to the next step in the world of publishing without it.
Now, that step has been completed. The forms have been filled out, the fees paid and my work has been sent to Washington, D.C. I will now have that U.S. Copyright protecting my words. My work. My book. My college instructors can be proud of me for, at least, learning this much from a class that basically "turned my brain to mush." While I may have hated the Law and Ethics class, I am happy to know that I will soon be taking the next step to get "High Maintenance" out to the public.
Copyright -- applied for. Next step -- moving closer to the date of publication for "High Maintenance - Surviving Cancer at All Costs."