--Subtitle - What is the cheapest & most simplistic proof an idea belongs to me that will hold up in court. Is my (explained below) example still good? Is there a better way?
When I come up with ideas I publish them on my site if I find them good enough to showcase my talent, entertain, inform or advise my readers. Sometimes I get consulting-gigs from readers as a side-benefit to this content-- an informational piece, a multimedia creation or a how-to. garner special attention, especially if the content is hard to find, piece-together or outright non-existent on the Web.
I don't give away EVERYTHING --- BIG ideas; (novels, screenplays, business-models, security-systems, applications, marketing-methods, inventions, ....) -- I keep under my hat.
When I took Media Law courses in college, the professor said the "easiest and cheapest way to prove and idea belongs to ME is to print it out, sign & date it (in blue pen - 'natch) then mail it to myself and leave it sealed."
In the event of third-party-profit-via-plagiarism, --the writer, by producing the env. can prove ownership of intellectual property. Mainly because the envelope-
- is sealed
- has a Federal postmark w/ date
- contains the original content with a signed & dated sig inside AND
- a court officer can verify these things easily for an adjudicator/jury
Q: Short of hiring a &c attorney. Is this still the best way to prove an idea, is, in fact, originally from the pen/mind of THIS writer?*
--Note: please don't hold-back your answer if you are not an officer-of-the-court or if you feel the need to pad with "I'm not a lawyer so..." or "Laws may be different in your jurisdiction..."1etc.
I GET IT. What counts is agreement or disagreement with "mailing content to myself," as an alternative to the &c process. WHY you think this is a good way to "cover my a$$," or WHY NOT or an alternative suggestion also appreciated.
1If you wish to research jurisdiction-specific. I am a publisher in Los Angeles, California.
EDIT in reply, "what's to stop someone from sending an empty, unsealed envelope to themselves through the mail, getting it dated, then stuffing whatever they want into it at a later date?"
- It is a serious felony and a Federal crime, enough to stop me.
- seals are old technology, as old as wax and fire, they are diff to tamper w/
- VOID! it is not possible to get an unsealed envelope postmarked in the US.