Doing a daily blog can be a daunting task. I mean, you have to come up with something to say 365 days a year (or 345 days if you take a ten-day vacation every six months). One of the things that has helped me is to develop themes for specific months--like the series of columns on Wal-Mart or on Alberto Gonzales and privacy or on developing a business plan.
All this is to say I was casting around for a theme for April when it occurred to me. We're awaiting the judge's decision in The DaVinci Code case (the decision is expected in the next ten days). Why not do three or four blogs during the month of April on copyright?
Copyright is a subject on which everyone should have at least a working knowledge, right? So that's what we'll do.
And we'll start out with a quiz. Play fair. Answer the questions without googling them. We'll do a pre-test today and then, during the month, we'll talk about the answers. We may even do a post-test toward the end of the month to see how much we've learned together.
Here's the quiz:
1) Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. (True or false?)
2) Americans have to register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office to be covered in the United States. (True or false?)
3) A cheap and effective way of copyrighting a work is to mail it to yourself through the U.S. Postal Service and then save the sealed envelope, which establishes the date you wrote the work (often called the Poor Man's Copyright) (True or false?)
4) An idea, fact or invention can be copyrighted. (True or false?)
5) The term of copyright for a work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. (True or false?)
6) Is my American copyright good in France? Israel? Afghanistan? (True or false? to each)
7) I'm not an American citizen, but I can copyright my work in the U.S. (True or false?)
8) My father is dead. He invented a new kind of hair dryer before his death. I can copyright it. (True or false?)
9) Do I have to use my real name? Can I copyright a work using my pseudonym? (True or false?)
10) For works created after Jan. 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 55 years. (True or false?)