How can I get the credit for my poem that is all over the internet under someone else' name? 4 Answers as of November 01, 2012

I wrote a love poem in high school and I put it onto poetry.com to see if I could win any money. Apparently, everyone wins on that website so I just left it on there. Years later, I wanted to see if my poem is on the website. When I Google searched the lyrics of my poem, I found out some poet took my poem and put her name on it. I have my original copy writing the poem and a screen shot of her poem and my poem. What can I do?

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Eminent IP, P.C.
Eminent IP, P.C. | Paul C. Oestreich
You own a copyright in your poem from the moment you complete the original work in a tangible medium (in this case a computer file, or hand-written copy). A copyright registration is not required to enforce your rights in the work, but it would give you procedural advantages during enforcement, * e.g.*, a presumption of validity, access to broader remedies, particularly attorney's fees. It is unclear from your statement of the problem whether you have a copyright registration or not. So, assuming you have a valid copyright in the work, which you will have to prove, and there is actual copying that you can prove by the inf-ringer, you might be able to prevail in a copyright infringement suit. However, the damages, if any, that you might be entitled to might be so minimal that it might cost more to seek a remedy through the courts than it is worth. As always, it is best to consult an attorney so that he/she can ascertain all of the material facts in your particular case and perform legal research to see what your likely outcome will be before proceeding with a copyright infringement lawsuit. But, unless your poem is making bank for the infringer, I doubt it would be worth your trouble.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 11/1/2012
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Proving yourself as the original author could be difficult. At this stage your best option is to contact the person claiming to be the author and demand payment and credit for any money that they received. Since you can prove your first day of publication the other person will need to prove a prior day of creations. When you wanted protection of the poem you should place a date, your name and the (c) symbol to identify that you want the poem protected. Without these marks the author is anonymous. This still does not give another the right to claim that they are the author. You can also contact a law firm that specializes in copyright law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/31/2012
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Contact her and tell her to remove it. The other option is to file a copyright on it and then when you get notification of the copyright you cans sue her, although you probably have no damages and you would not be entitled to statutory damages or attorneys fees since you did not register it within 90 days of publication.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 10/29/2012
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Send the poet a cease and desist letter immediately. Then contact the web site you found your poem on under her name and file a copyright complaint with the site. They should investigate and remove the poem if you can prove your copyright.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 10/29/2012
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