Hey! would I be breaking any laws by adding a cocopywriteymbol
when my designs are not officially cocopywriten?
In the US you own the copyright of a work or design just because you
are the author. If you register the copyright with the government by
filling out the paperwork and depositing a copy or photo with the
copyright office at the Library of Congress, you only make it easier
to prove your copyright than if you just mark it copyright. You
actually can claim copyright without even signing the work, but it
becomes difficult to prove and impossible to collect damages if you
ever try to enforce it. I think that most countries are pretty much
in agreement about intellectual property, but there could be some
differences in Europe that I am unaware of.
I once had a copyright infringement suit for a piece that I had
marked copyright, but had not registered. My lawyer told me that the
first thing I should do was to register it with the copyright office,
even though the design was already 10 years old. I only contacted the
lawyer after a "cease and desist" letter that I wrote myself was
rejected by the copycat. I was assured by the lawyer that marking
everything "copyright" with my name, including illustrations, catalogs
and websites was the correct and prudent thing to do even if I did
not register the designs. The lawyer wrote a much more convincing
letter demanding the destruction of all molds, didestructionf copies
of the design, removal of images from catalogs and websites including
those of resellers. She filed a complaint in federal court and the
copycat very quickly gave in.
Some types of designs are easier to defend than others, but that
should not prevent you from marking your work copyright. These things
rarely go all the way to court. Usually it is a matter of squaring
off with cease and desist letters and the suggestion of expensive
legal action that makes each party take a reckoning of how much it is
worth to them. My little adventure cost quite a lot, but I learned a
lot from it.
BTW, the copycat of my design cast his own copyright notice on the