|"Think of your own ideas" available from Reform School|
and is by Anthony Burrill
I would like to point everyone toward the US Copyright office's FAQ page and correct any misinformation that work must be registered with them to be under copyright protection.
From my understanding of what I've read, if you do find yourself in a situation where litigation is the answer, you will have to register your copyright.
I am not a lawyer and I am not prepared to give legal advice in any manner, I do think it's important that artists prepare themselves in regards to copyright. There is a lot of bad advice and the perpetuation of the "well, there's nothing I can do about it" attitude has given passive permission to others to take advantage of our hard work and creativity. I'm not talking about "inspired by" design--that's a hairy issue and one I'm really not prepared to address.
But PLEASE read the copyright laws (the FAQs at least) before you think it's okay to rip off a design by someone else.
I'd love to hear what an actual copyright lawyer has to say about this. Anyone out there reading?