I attend Comic-Con every year and I’m a dyed-in-the-wool comic book nerd. As my practice grew I took on more and more comic book artists, video game designers, etc.

Artists often have great ideas, but they have trouble monetizing them. Well aware of the great potential value of these ideas, they want to file copyrights.

The most common misconception they have, and I don’t know where they got this idea from, but somehow it’s become some sort of Legal Urban Legend that’s taken on a life of its own.

This Legend is the “Poor Man’s Copyright”, and it’s a poor idea for any man, woman, or child. Sorry, a little dad humor there.

The concept is that the creator can mail himself/herself a copy of the intellectual property they’ve created and have the letter unopened. They think they can rely on the postmark date as proof that they created the IP on this date. But it doesn’t prove anything besides (at best) proving that you mailed something on that date. The envelope could have been tampered with and something could have been added to the envelope either. Nor is it any kind of proof that you created the intellectual property that you just mailed yourself.

In the United States this process simply isn’t recognized as a lawful way to register your ownership of the intellectual property, so what I suggest is you save that postage money and put it toward a copyright application fee.

Finally, don’t think using a notary public will work either, in the United States the only way to protect your copyright is to register it with the United States Copyright Office. So if you’ve utilized one of these methods to protect your copyright, be aware that the copyright is not protected and you should seek to register the copyright as quickly as possible with the United States Copyright Office.

If you have any more questions about copyrights or intellectual property matters in general, feel free to contact my office at 1-844-695-1487 or email me at info@pokalalaw.com, and we can discuss the issue further.

Good luck!

Kalyan Pokala

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