In a follow-up comment to my post on Fair Use and Original Thought, an anonymous poster helpfully provided a link to the full copyright laws. They are quite long. After a little research on the U.S. Copyright Office website, I came up with Circular 66 on Copyright Registration for Online Works. Favorite tidbits:
“Many works transmitted online, such as websites, are revised or updated frequently. Generally, copyrightable revisions to online works that are published on separate days must each be registered individually, with a separate application and filing fee”
“Copyright protects original authorship fixed in tangible form (17 USC sec. 102(a)).”
So my take-away is that, by default, bloggers are not covered as it is never “fixed”. You can register your blog/website, I think as describe in Circular 62, but I would check with the Copyright Office Public Information Office. There is a special registration for “dailies” (Circular 62a), but I’m not good enough to be sure about posting at least 2 posts a week. I can see that I have failed to post at least 8 times a month in two of the last six months. There is also the issue of many blogs not being a “Collective Work”, which I think would rule either of those alternatives invalid.
If you are a lawyer and can cite a precedent that says that my blog is covered, please let me know. I’ll share whatever I can validate with everyone.