Online copyright laws...
Anyone have any links about online copyright laws what I would have to do to copyright material. I'm working on a website and I would like to put some of my writings on there but I also don't want anyone publishing a story I'm working on that I would put on there as a work in progress...any help is greatly appreciated.
Forget about the service that was recommended above. While it might have some value, it really isn't necessary.
First of all you should know that copyright protection is created the moment you "fix" your creation in any tangible form or media, including a website.
In the event that you actually need to try and enforce your copyright against an infringer you will need to demonstrate that you are the lawful owner/creator of the disputed material and that you fixed it in a tangible form prior to the infringing party. (The service you were referred to affixes a digital timestamp to your files but I really don't think that is worth paying for. It does offer to provide a representaive or affidavit at any proceedings which could be nice in the very unlikely scenario that things ever got that far.)
instead here are some practical suggestions for you...
There are a few ways that you can do this including simply printing the webpages out. You will note that most webbrowsers like IE timestamp the pages when you print them. For extra protection you can seal them in an envelope, stick that envelope in a larger envelope and mail it to yourself. Then just take that received envelope and store it away UNOPENED of course. The USPS affixes a date in its postmark of course.
Once you have created your website, you should visit www.archive.org and submit your site to be spidered/archived during their next sweep. The archived pages would be pretty good evidence of your creation date of your writings.
Naturally, anyone contesting your copyright might have to explain how they created the work, so it is always good to retain your notes, early drafts etc. in a file. I find this is also helpful to the creative process which is a nice byproduct.
Finally, you can keep many novice websurfers from copy and pasting material from your website by disabling the copy or "right-key" function. I believe this is done through a script. Just Google "Disabling copy function" and you will pull up different discussions and links to scripts that you can use. I think that sophisticates can circumvent these, including by disabling their active scripting, but the casual web surfer will be blocked.
hope the above was helpful,
Eduardo Leaton Jr., Esq.