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How Do I Secure An IP, While Leaving Options Open? 281

Posted by Zonk
from the i-suggest-tacks dept.
Tiger4 writes "Let's say I have a photograph, or a television script, or have finally perfected the water-to-gasoline conversion process, or some other piece of non-software but copywritable or patentable IP. I know I want it secured in my name, on this date, in a provable and verifiable way. But being an Open Source, free-to-the world sort of person, I'm willing to share my knowledge to the world, as long as all credit points unambiguously to me. Any attempts at theft could, would, and must be immediately rebuffed by my offer of proof from when I first secured the IP. What, if any, tool or method is available to me in the digital world? MD5 and the like are available to show that copied files are the same as the original source, but they don't show time of authorship unambiguously. The same with Public Key crypto. I could lock it up with a time stamp, but what prevents me from faking the stamp that locks the file? Is there a way to homestead a little chunk of time with my IP's name on it?"
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How Do I Secure An IP, While Leaving Options Open?

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  • by Sanity (1431) * on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:53PM (#20429221) Homepage Journal
    Such as this one [itconsult.co.uk].

    I found this in 30 seconds through Google, did you even look before submitting your question to Slashdot?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by namelok (1144211)
      look at Numly.com it offers such a service
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gr3kgr33n (824960)
      Just to bring to your attention, I think this Article was submitted by Slashdot's automatic journal News Submission IP Stealing evil monkey with a big stick hiding in the closet waiting to get.... er, I digress... I think...

      What planet was I on again?
    • by wkk2 (808881) on Friday August 31, 2007 @07:19PM (#20429905)
      Publish the sha256 check sum in a newspaper ad.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JackHoffman (1033824)
        Correct answer. Make sure to choose a newspaper that is widely published and archived in an immutable form, in its entirety and in many places. Don't forget to put your personal information into the package of which you're going to publish the cryptographically secure hash value. It's not enough to put your name in the ad, because then someone who acquires your material could claim that you stole it from him and published the hash afterwards.
    • That's a nice thing to have, but it does not prove anything more than a notary public would. Ideally there should be a technological way to timestamp/prove before which even kings or other people with power should be equal to the last homeless person on the street. Right now notary publics are corruptible because they are people, and can deny ever signing a document, claiming the signature is forged. Ideally there should be a completely free and mirrored/highly distributed way of getting and storing certifi
      • The current timestamp authorities are not mirrored, they need to see the full text of your ip, and they function via email, and there is no money trail (which is not needed until there is massive spam.) Basically the powers that be can stop your email from getting through to any kind of timestamping authority, by reading the contents of the texts. Which basically means you just need to send them the md5sum as a standard practice, instead of the plain text document and the rest functions fine. I guess you al
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Maybe they mistook Slashdot for Google?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There ya go.
  • Copyright Office. (Score:5, Informative)

    by bluephone (200451) * <grey@@@burntelectrons...org> on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:54PM (#20429229) Homepage Journal
    This is surprisingly simple. If it's a copyrightable and you have $45, register the copyright of the work with the US Copyright office (or the copuyright office in your country, I assume you're in the US because I'm an Americentric bastard). Check out http://www.copyright.gov/register/ [copyright.gov] for forms and details. A registered copyright strengthens your argument of ownership immeasurably. It raises the bar of proof that any opposition must overcome to disprove your ownership. If it's IP, I'm in the camp that it's covered by copyright, and hate IP patents, but if it's patentable like software (grumble grumble) then it's somewhere around $500 to apply to the patent office yourself. If it's that valuable to you that you genuinely fear theft, then $500 is a small price to pay for insurance.
    • Re:Copyright Office. (Score:4, Informative)

      by julesh (229690) on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:04PM (#20429339)
      register the copyright of the work with the US Copyright office (or the copuyright office in your country, I assume you're in the US because I'm an Americentric bastard).

      Which is probably why you don't realise that most other countries don't have a copyright registration system.
    • Notarys... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:18PM (#20429507) Homepage
      This is exactly the sort of thing public notarys are for.

      You give them a piece of paper, they sign it and keep a copy. If you ever have to go to court they appear as a witness with their copy of the paper.

      • In addition, you can request a copy be placed in the records/archives at the courthouse.

        When I was discharged from the Marine Corps, I took my DD-214 paperwork to my county courthouse, requested a couple of certified copies and that a copy be held in the archive. It cost a few dollars, (about $15 if I remember right), but a few days later I got my original copy, my certified copies, and a notice that a copy had been archived. I'm not sure if they will do it for non-government paperwork, but it wouldn't h

    • by yuna49 (905461)
      When you register a work with the Copyright Office, a copy is archived in the Library of Congress. That's fine if you don't care whether your work is publicly available but not if you want to keep your work proprietary for some reason.

      The other advantage of registration is that you can sue for "statutory damages" and legal costs. These can be considerably greater than the damage awards available for infringed unregistered works. See 17 USC 412 [cornell.edu] and the discussion of statutory damages in 17 USC 504 [cornell.edu] and 17
  • Use your lawyer (Score:3, Informative)

    by bpjk (305635) on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:55PM (#20429231)
    Send registered mail to your lawyer which contains inside a sealed, timestamped envelope with your stuff in it (digitally or dead-tree based) and instruct your lawyer to store it somewhere safe.

    When you;re fighting copyers, you can have this opened in the presence of a lawayer or court, have everything verified and checked and then have it re-sealed in the same venue and have all proceedings officially recorded.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JMLang (833136)
      What the parent describes is a concept commonly called the "poor man's patent," and it doesn't work nearly as well as legend would suggest.

      If you want to protect the functional aspects of your idea (i.e. things within the realm of patents) rather than just the way you expressed it in code (copyright only protects the form of expression, not the how-it-works aspects), then look up "Statutory Invention Registrations" with the US Patent and Trademark Office. They're relatively inexpensive and will act as pr
      • IF you can afford your lawyers time, I'd say this method is far from "Poor man's ..." anything. Though I completely agree with you that proper copywrite channels should be persued, a dated envelope with a reputable lawyer attesting to its authenticity should be pretty solid. This is NOT to be confused with something such as sending yourself a certified letter.
        • Though I completely agree with you that proper copywrite channels should be persued, a dated envelope with a reputable lawyer attesting to its authenticity should be pretty solid.

          Yeah, because in the event of a legal dispute, having your lawyer vouch for you is going to carry a lot of weight.

          (Not to mention that the lawyer you've retained as a "document validator", as they will be a key witness in the case, probably won't be able to represent you in the event of dispute, requiring you to hire a second lawye

  • by poopie (35416) on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:56PM (#20429249) Journal
    Post your idea on slashdot. All posts have a timestamp.
    • Ran out of mod points earlier so here is my idea...

      I think a news collector/ comment allowing website in the slashdot model should assign moderation points but let the user choose when to activate them, subject to predefined rules that would prevent the usage of so many points over a given time span or used in a single article.

      Remember you heard it from me first as the time stamp shows. Tune in next week for the secret to free energy, and world peace. That is all.
    • Is there a way to homestead a little chunk of time with my IP's name on it?"

      I always liked the public public press release and demo.

      As an example, is anybody going to challenge the date of the private rocket launch by them claiming first private launch into space instead? The demo was very public and well documented in many forms.

      For the naysayers regarding the first man on the moon, the proof is either there or it isn't. In the future when man again returns, the new claim of first man on the moon will h
  • by Ajehals (947354)
    Apparently you can (used to be able to?) mail yourself a copy of the design / code / idea etc.. registered post, that will get you a nice date stamped master to use if you need to, (I think you may be better mailing it to your solicitor and asking them to hold it) don't open it when you get it back though.

    Might have been an old wives tale though.

    Although realistically if it is a major find you should be grabbing a solicitor and filing your idea in whatever manner is appropriate.

    This is not legal advice and
    • by seebs (15766)
      Old wives' tale, so far as I know. Never seen it from a credible source, and the only people I've seen do it were the sorts of people who believe crazy legal theories and then get very sad.

      I asked my lawyer once, he told me it was stupid and accomplished nothing.
      • by Ajehals (947354)
        Fair enough. I can bin that filing cabinet full of envelopes then.

        • by psykocrime (61037)
          Yeah, think about this: how can you prove the envelope was sealed, and contained it's present contents, when you mailed it? If this worked, you could just mail yourself an empty, unsealed envelope tomorrow, and then 15 years from now you could stick whatever you wanted in it and seal it.

          • Put your stamps accross the envelope's seal, when the stamps get canceled (with the date) you'll have proof that you sealed it before mailing it. I once did this, but actually had to do it twice because the first time the cancellation stamp didn't go through the stamps (they put it in the traditional place).
          • And then, when you go to court in 2025, a quick chemical analysis would reveal that the content is 10+ years newer than the vessel and the signature ink is from a 2019-2021 production Bic - a conclusion backed by printing watermark analysis revealing that the content was printed by a FooBar 18000 v1.2 with serial number 0918273645 produced in January 2020.

            Perfect fraud is becoming more difficult every year.
    • by julesh (229690)
      Apparently you can (used to be able to?) mail yourself a copy of the design / code / idea etc.. registered post, that will get you a nice date stamped master to use if you need to, (I think you may be better mailing it to your solicitor and asking them to hold it) don't open it when you get it back though. ...

      This is not legal advice and IANAL.


      Clearly not. This is known as "poor man's copyright", and is generally considered to be useless (due to the fact that it's trivially easy to game the system to claim
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hazem (472289)
        While I agree with your statement that mailing yourself an envelope is useless, I don't think you could easily do what you said.

        Every time I remember sending a registered mail, the post office stamped ink across the seams of the envelope - presumably to ensure that it wasn't opened.

        But seriously, Slashdot is the worst place to get good legal advice. Yikes.

        That said, there was a good article on the August 11th Talk of the Nation Science Friday called "What Inventors Need to Know". One of the guests emphasis
    • by megaditto (982598)
      Post a classifieds add to a print newspaper with MD5/SHA512 hashes (the more the better) of your data file?
  • you may check for a "notarius publicus" or similar service too.
  • Patent it (Score:5, Informative)

    by netruner (588721) on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:58PM (#20429275)
    Just because you are the patent holder (contrary to popular practice) doesn't mean you have to be a jerk. You can hold a patent and then allow anyone to use the IP for whatever they want. Holding the patent doesn't mean that nobody else can use the IP, it just means that you set the rules for its use.

    The downside is that getting a patent can be a bit expensive.
  • Slashdot, contrary to what a lot of people on here believe, is not generally a particularly great place to seek legal advice.

    Particularly considering you haven't stated which country you're in.

    If the IP you want to protect is worth any serious quantity of money, then an hour or so of a lawyers time is a worthwhile investment.

    Alternatively, if you're a cheapskate, I understand the traditional method was for authors to post themselves a copy but not open it. That way, if a dispute ever arose, there was a sea
    • by Surt (22457)
      You posted to suggest getting real legal advice, and offered and urban legend. Excellent!

      Read the various posts above about all the fun ways to fraud the system of sending yourself a sealed envelope.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Soruk (225361)
        Bear in mind the poster you replied to is in the UK (and the original poster didn't state his location).

        The UK Intellectual Property Office implies here [ipo.gov.uk] that although posting something to yourself (by Special Delivery) and not opening it upon receipt doesn't prove you created it, it does give you proof you held that information on that date.
  • Basically, you want a way to write your name on an idea/thing with indellible ink. Good luck on that. Computers don't even try to do this - I'm reminded of my OS class, where metadata (name, permissions, etc.) were separate from the actual file/folder.

    Unless you embed your name in the material in some way it can't be removed (impossible if it's just an idea), you're out of luck. One way to do this would be from a branding/marketing perspective - think Coke, Kleenex, Xerox, etc. - if you can get the thing
  • Publsh it (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tester (591) <olivier@crete.ocrete@ca> on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:59PM (#20429287) Homepage
    Most of the scientific community works that way. When someone in a university discovers something, he wants the world to know about it, but most of the time, they are interested in making money from it. So they have scientific journals in which they publish. And then these are distributed and everyone knows where its from.. Now if you want to be famous, make sure you publish it in something that is widely read (like Slashdot! or Nature). And not on your own blog or some obscure scientific journal.
    • He could patent it within a year of public disclosure.
    • Publishing the idea seems to be a good idea. It would serve your purpose while being much cheaper than obtaining a patent on it, which could cost thousands if you have to hire an attorney. Furthermore, it would help you build your resume.

      A side effect is that your article would be prior art against any other later inventor who tries to patent the same idea. Of course, you have to try to get published in a popular journal that the Patent Office would think an average inventor would look at. (Not Slashdot.)
    • One of the downsides of sci journals is that they own the text. So you can't publish it on a journal and then publish it on slashdot.

      HOWEVER... you can make TWO versions: One as in a technical report, but with less scientific level. You post that on a public site. Then make a journal-ready version and submit it to the sci journals.
  • If you need to unambiguously datestamp it, utilize a unbiased third party notary-like service such as http://www.itconsult.co.uk/stamper/stampinf.htm [itconsult.co.uk] to sign the detached signature of the material and publish that signature. By signing it yourself, you are showing that you possessed the material. Employing the third party to sign your detached signature of the material provides a reliable timestamp of when you possessed the material. A challenge could be met by providing the material along with the releva
  • Call a notary (Score:4, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:02PM (#20429327) Homepage Journal

    If you don't have a personal lawyer and don't want to mess with the copyright office, you may also have a notary public [wikipedia.org] sign and date a printout of the document. Be sure that the law in your state allows notaries to act in that capacity; I don't think they can i New York, for example.

    Advantages: cost and convenience - you might very well know one or have one on staff at your office.

    • or have one on staff at your office.

      Do NOT do this with the office notary. You may introduce some ownership/conflict of interest issues.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:04PM (#20429341)

    Let's say I have a photograph, or a television script, or have finally perfected the water-to-gasoline conversion process, or some other piece of non-software but copywritable or patentable IP. I know I want it secured in my name, on this date, in a provable and verifiable way. But being an Open Source, free-to-the world sort of person, I'm willing to share my knowledge to the world, as long as all credit points unambiguously to me. Any attempts at theft could, would, and must be immediately rebuffed by my offer of proof from when I first secured the IP. What, if any, tool or method is available to me in the digital world?


    The digital world is the wrong place to search for a solution. The simplest, most effective (though not, particularly in the case of patents, the cheapest) solution is to simply secure the appropriate legal registration of the IP (a registered copyright, a patent, etc.) and then offer the product under a no-cost license that requires credit and whatever other terms you want to impose.

    (Since copyright is automatic, you can technically avoid registration and still be protected, but registration serves the documentation role you are looking for without any technical trickery, and copyright registration isn't particularly expensive.)
  • Mail it to yourself, using public servers. Do it from some different servers. They have to keep copies for years, with timestamps. You cannot easily falsify those. And the records in the mail servers have force of proof, as shown in some high-profile cases that I wont name here, basically because I dont remember them :-)

  • Fado, fado , ... When ATT patented the SETUID Bit [uspto.gov] in the early mists of the middle ages of computer development they explicitly put the invention into the public domain. You can also publish (or get published) an article that details in enough clarity that a person skilled at the state of the art in the field could replicate the invention from your article. And in the article explicitly put the invention into the public domain. If you want to be a little less that free about the use of your invention, then
  • Write an article for DDJ or Nature or something documenting your findings. I would think that would attach your name to the findings in such a way that you get credit for the work, while at the same time sharing your findings with the world.

    Of course, if you want to turn a buck on the idea later on you should patent or copyright it and be a bastard. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

  • ...about creating a simple system. It goes like this: you upload a document. It then returns a copy of the document with a datestamp and a cryptographic signature of both. You keep this signed copy for later reference.

    Because the system is run by a third party with no interest in the ongoing litigation, it would likely be trusted by a court.

    There's also a nontrivial chance it would earn the person who set it up some reasonable expert witness fees.
  • shows the file existed- with that hash- on that date.....

    kinda hard to reverse do from a has to the file then...
  • by taustin (171655) on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:13PM (#20429449) Homepage Journal
    I don't know why people are so resistent to simply registering a copyright. It's a simple form, costs less than $50, and a stamp. End of story. And you can't enforce a copyright in court without registering it first, nor is the court interested in anything but the registration as proof. And if you're not willing to enforce it in court, it doesn't matter what you are willing to do, because you can't enforce it.

    Patents are considerably more complicated, of course, and more expensive, but again, the only thing the court will care about is the patent.

    Does anybody have a patent on reinventing the wheel yet?
  • 1. Send it via certified mail to yourself and leave the envelope sealed when it arrives.
    2. Post it to Usenet.

    There are other more official options as well, but both of these should be sufficient to associate a date with something.
  • Send 3 copies, certified mail to yourself or your local bank which you have a safe deposit box with. Put sealed letters in the box. Never open it again until discovery when you sue. Problem solved.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:17PM (#20429493)
    I'll meet you to discuss how to secure your IP. Please bring all relevant documents, and don't tell anyone where you are going.
  • There are a variety of digital timestamps available. Ideally you should use multiples from different sources, so it doesn't matter if some become discredited. In this article [digistamp.com], a company compares itself to the service provided by the US Postal Service.

    The mentioned services would have to be provided on a retail basis rather than commercial, as these seem to be described, but I have no reason to believe they are not.

    If you choose a sufficiently-strong message digest, they do not have to sign the whole digit

  • IP sucks. Its never as simple as you think.

    If you don't want to personally profit - but you just want to make sure that no-one else can control it - then you could release it/publish it, using any or all of the suggestions given by well-meaning but legally ignorant slashdotters above (or better still ask a lawyer).

    However seriously, if its a great idea, then there's a high chance someone else will want in - perhaps claiming you stole it from them for example. Yes there are people out there like this. Do

    • by grcumb (781340) on Friday August 31, 2007 @07:01PM (#20429807) Homepage Journal

      IP sucks. Its never as simple as you think.

      IP sucks because it doesn't exist.

      Look, you either have an object, which is patentable, a work, which can be copyrighted, a symbol, which can be trademarked... or you have an idea, which is only protected until you tell somebody else. If you don't want to share, don't.

      The concept of Intellectual Property - i.e. the idea that an abstract construct can have the same properties as a physical construct - is self-contradictory: If it's intellectual, it's not property. The idea has no basis in law, philosophy or history. I've written about this elsewhere [livejournal.com], so I won't waste my breath repeating myself here.

      As far as the submitter is concerned, the alternatives are clear: You can protect the work, but not the idea. If it's a song, write it down and/or record it, then copyright it. If it's software, put it in a public repository that has reliable tracking and timestamping, and associate it with an appropriate license. As the owner, you can change this license any way you like in the future, so pick something that suits you for the time being and leave it at that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by neurojab (15737)
        IP sucks because it doesn't exist.

        Look, you either have an object, which is patentable, a work, which can be copyrighted, a symbol, which can be trademarked... or you have an idea, which is only protected until you tell somebody else. If you don't want to share, don't.


        I'm afraid that objects are not patentable, it is the design of the object or process the object implements that is patentable (an invention). The point behind a patent is not to keep something to yourself, it's to license the process/design/
  • For $200 (in the US), you can file a provisional patent application. It will never be examined, and will expire in one year, but it is an unambiguous date stamp. (If you're a "small entity", you may be able to cut the fee by 50%.)

    If you want it published with that date, you'll need to file an actual utility application ($1000, same small entity options). In 18 months or so, it'll be published, with the filing date clearly indicated. No one says you have to prosecute the application after filing it.
  • Just ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by wsanders (114993) on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:31PM (#20429587) Homepage
    Put it in a sealed envelope and ...oh f***, nevermind.

    How come I don't have any "Please! Stop!" mod points?

  • Securing ip (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxinuruguay (1149501)
    What do you mean by secure? You better go to the store and by a book about do it yourself patents. There are many good ones. Assuming you want to secure the date that you thought something up, you will want to print out a detailed description of your idea (this does not need to contain claims or anything. Just a good description of what it does, how it improves existing solutions, etc. Patent book will give you an outline for this document). Take this document to 2 people who are capable of understanding
  • I'm sure there are a number of timestamp services, but I've used digistamp.com. The service claims it was designed by scientists and certainly seems to meet some of their IP needs. It's based on RFC3161.

    Essentially you generate a checksum and they digitally sign the checksum + the time. So it's crypto proof that at that time T you had a document with checksum C. (You're tied to the document by your account.)

    You can, for example, timestamp a PDF file. It integrates with Acrobat pretty well.

    I think this is th
  • by MenTaLguY (5483) on Friday August 31, 2007 @06:49PM (#20429701) Homepage
    I've found that a rule-based IP firewall like netfilter works well.
  • Buy a small space in your local newspaper and put your name and the MD5 in it (you might consider doing it without your name, but thats risky - if the paper goes out of business who will be able to testify it was you who placed the ad?). Shouldn't cost more than a couple bucks.
  • Here's why.

    As others have pointed out, this is a useless tactic. Yes, when you mail something to yourself, it gets date stamped. Great, wonderful. But there's no onus on the post office to ensure that you have properly sealed the envelope in anyway. You could leave it completely open and empty, and they'll mail it to you. Later on, at any time, you can put something into the envelope and seal it.

    But what if the post office insists on datestamping over the enclosure of the envelope? Then it MUST be sealed. Sure-- or at least that end of the envelope does. Some envelopes can have two openings, because of the way they're folded. Have them timestamp over the second end. Or unseal the second end and reseal it later.

    Or steam open the envelope, and very carefully reseal it afterwards so that the timestamp matches up.

    Or use a plain white envelope, and a pair of chopsticks. Roll your document around the sticks, then stick the sticks into the envelope through the bottom where it isn't QUITE sealed along the fold.

    There are so many ways to tamper with it. And you forget there's also the question of chain of possession. Who has actually had the envelope from the time it was stamped until the time you present it to the courts?

    And what about a biased source? You're suing someone because you claim you own what they're say they own. Your proof? "Because I said so."

    The main issue here isn't proving that you own something. It's that you own it, and that you came up with it, and that you came up with it first. As others have mentioned, use the patent office. Use a notary. They're all trusted third parties who can verify the when of it.

    And to prove that you actually came up with it-- simple. Show your work. Keep every rough draft, concept sketch, hand-drawn Rose diagram, cvs revision and so forth. If someone does steal the final product, it becomes a huge advantage to you. The other guy says "This is my idea". You say "This is my idea, and here's fifteen boxes of evidence that demonstrate the process I went through to create it." Who do you think the judge is going to believe?

  • If you want sufficient evidence that you thought of something by a certain time, get it published in a magazine, newspaper, or such. Who's going to argue that your plans and concept aren't prior art when they're in Scientific American, Wired, Dog Grooming Monthly, or Fast-food Mexican on the Cheap Magazine before someone else starts using the idea?
  • Well, taking a look at what your question is, and giving it a good read, there isn't a whole lot I can suggest that hasn't been suggested already. I can update a couple of things, though.

    First of all, you seem to be operating under the idea that IP laws are restrictive of what you can do with your own IP. This actually isn't the case. Under copyright law, you can do whatever you want with your own IP. Protecting it, or more specifically, the terms under which you want to share it, on the other hand, is
  • Stop and walk away (Score:2, Informative)

    by Crayola (250908)
    First, you are asking for legal advice. Stop now and walk away from the website. Talk to a lawyer. Do not listen to a storm of layman opinions, all of which are almost certainly wrong.

    Second, if you're still reading this, there is no such thing as "IP" in the law. There are copyright, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and possibly a few other things. They are not the same, and disclosure has radically different effects on them. The laws vary from country to country.

    Third, it sounds like you're talki
    • First, you are asking for legal advice. Stop now and walk away from the website. Talk to a lawyer. Do not listen to a storm of layman opinions, all of which are almost certainly wrong.

      Second, if you're still reading this, there is no such thing as "IP" in the law. There are copyright, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and possibly a few other things.

      Was it your intention to underline the truth of your first point with your second? There is, indeed, a thing called "IP" or "Intellectual Property" in the la

  • You could always send it registered post to yourself and leave it unopened.
  • Copyright and patents extend a monopoly of limited duration on creative works to the creator or their employer, depending on contracts or law. If it can be considered 'property', then it is the property of all. If you don't like the idea that ultimately your creative work doesn't belong to you, then work to get copyright abolished and replaced with some sort of actual intellectual property right. This idea that copyright makes something 'intellectual property' is ass backwards and only serves the interes

  • "copywritable"? Dear god. First, learn how to spell; then learn what it means [wikipedia.org]. Then think, then start asking some questions. And do your best to avoid the catch-phrase "intellectual property", because when you get down to brass tacks and in law, it's vague and somewhat meaningless.

    -b

  • File it with the copyright office [copyright.gov]. Doing so authenticates the date filed. That is what the copyright office exists for, after all.
  • The idea is, you have something to publish which is so huge that you just couldnt trust anyone not to steal it, not the patent examiner, not the notary, not your lawyer, nobody.
    Best idea I've come up with is to put an add that appears to be a 'word search' puzzle in a major newspaper like the new york times, but its actually a simple encryption to some major text like the declaration of independence. Don't tell anyone what it really is.

    Now, its published wide and far, but nobody knows about it!

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan

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