As a published novelist and a blogger who has discussed copyright and plagiarism many times in online forums and on my own blog, I was dismayed to read the following paragraph of your reply to the individual who asked for information on copyright law:
"A lot of writers and photo pros put copies of their masterpieces in an envelope, seal it and then mail it to themselves and keep it unopened in hopes that this will be dated evidence that they created it, should a dispute arise."
In fact, professional writers and photographers do nothing of the kind. Unfortunately, this so-called "poor man's copyright" is a myth that just won't die, even though common sense should tell us that it's entirely possible to mail an empty, unsealed envelope and fill it later.
I have enjoyed your column for some time and was surprised to see you make this kind of error. I hope you'll set your readers straight.
Friends, this is so simple. If you have any questions about protecting your own work or using someone else's, just head straight to the U.S. Copyright Office's website. It's well-designed and easy to navigate, and you need not be an attorney to understand the basics of copyright law as presented there.
I can hardly believe the amount of erroneous information on copyright that's being disseminated on the internet and through writers' groups. Please don't feed that monster! Before repeating something you read on a writers' e-mail list or hear at a workshop or read in a newspaper, please take a few minutes to find out if it's true. Very often, it isn't.