Would a handwritten "Copyright 2021 (My First and Last name)" copyright notice, be valid and have it's standard legal aplication in USA as well as in EU, for me - an author form Slovenia (EU), if I write it in handwritting on a handwritten 30-page original literary work of nonfiction, which I would publish only on social media, in the form of a collection of 30 pictures of scans of handwritting?

The work would not be catalogued, registered or published anywhere else so I assume that if it would be censored by the platforms - deleted, I would not have a link to an active published refference to the work, and don't know how could I persue my case in court, should it come to that, however my research so far has given me the impression that such a copyright notice is the best international protection and deterence symbol agianst infringement on the rights, and even to use in a court of law.

(My current project just has to be in handwritting...)

Grateful for any help.

  • Just to state the obvious, as it seems implicit in your question but isn't expressly stated, handwritten works may be protected by copyright. Copyright law is much older than the widespread use of typewriters and computers.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


In the since the effective date of the 1976 Copyright Act, all copyright notices are optional, and copyright does not depend on any notice at all. The same is true in every country that adheres to the Berne Copyright Conventions, which is almost every country in the world, and includes all countries with significant publishing industries.

Even before the 1976 act, when a notice was absolutely required, a hand written notice was just as effective as a printed notice, provided that it was legible. Many painters, for example, included (and still include) hand-written copyright notices near the painter's signature, and these were effective.

In the US, one cannot file a copyright suit unless the work involved is first registered. If the work was not registered before the infringement occurred, statutory damages are not available (in the US) unless the work is registered within 3 months of publication. For non-commercial works, statutory damages are often the only way to get any significant damages.

The original handwritten work, whether posted to the net or not, is still protected by copyright, with or without a notice. A notice is not a substitute for registration. Neither is a post on social media.

Proving who created a copyrighted work is not usually a major issue in a copyright suit, and worrying overmuch about ways to establish this is often a waste of tiem and effort. The issues are more often: Was the work copied; if so who copied it; was it infringement, fair use, or use under a license; did some other exception to copyright apply; what damage was done to the copyright owner; what advantage did an infringer get?

A copyright notice does largely eliminate the defense of "innocent infringement" in which an infringer claims not to have known that the works was protected. If proved this can greatly reduce damages under US law. A handwritten notice will have the same effect on that defense as a printed one.


I am not an lawyer. I think you’re a bit confused, so I’m going to try to answer the questions I think you’re trying to ask:

  1. Will the written work be copyright?

Yes. Copyright is automatic. You don’t need the copyright notice in the EU, but it won’t hurt.

  1. Can people legally copy my work and repost it?

In general, no, but the social media site itself might gain a license to use your work, based on the terms of service.

  1. Can I sue people who copy my work?

Excluding fair use, you probably can, but if it’s not registered, it might be hard to get damages in the US. You may need to register if you plan to sue someone. I’d check your laws. You’ll also need to show it’s your work, leading to:

  1. Will posting it to social media prove it’s my work, without me spending the time/money to register my copyright?

Maybe…. It could help show you had a copy in 2021, which may help in a court case, but if someone else reposts it and your post is taken down, (maybe due to a false DCMA) you might find someone else has the earliest post, which may hurt your case. Keeping the originals may help, but this is all very speculative.

If you want to research this idea more, you can search for “poor man’s copyright” which has a lot of people talking about this idea.

  • Thank you. The information I require most is actually weather the CR notice - being in handwriting form - serves the same - holds the same legal power - as if it would be in printed form...(?) ...But in any case, for such a helpful answer as you provided, which covers so many points, I have to say that You remind me once more that in the people lies the reason why I love stackexchange forums so much. Thank you for your attention and time!
    – Luka
    Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 10:15
  • I don't plan to sue anyone at all - I intend to allow the work to be used by others with propper attribution. I do want the glory of attribution however... I do understand that perhaps even (that) could be hard to claim if my original post gets deleted and a potential user of my work in the meantime does not attribute the work to me. That is what I want to prepare for. Actually I'm intending to publish just a 30 page promo of my potentially - upcoming longer book, and test the audiences if they are biting on social media. If not I wont even publish the book. That is actually all I plan.
    – Luka
    Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 10:28
  • This way I can find UP-lifting responces to my UP-lifting book promo UP on the social platforms, once I UP-load it.
    – Luka
    Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 11:00
  • I have actually done alot of research in my country in respect to Copyrights, but between the clueless government agency workers who told me - "Open a book, what does it say? Write that!" and agencies - profiteering private companies who just take your money for providing you with a registry number, it was far to infuriating to continue wthout some help from this great forum. Especially since I expect my eventual audiences would be in the English speaking world.... It's frustrating. That is life. You have to keep at it...
    – Luka
    Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 12:05
  • 2
    @Luka: The point of the answer is that neither handwritten or printed notices have any legal power, because neither one is needed at all. So in that sense they are "the same". Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 15:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .