I am an instructor at a vocational school. A recent student of mine was given multiple, detailed handouts that aided in his instruction. Now this student is wanting to publish my documents to sold as a retail book. I do not have a copyright as the complex handouts were designed for my course. What "intellectual" or "property" rights do I have as the original creator of the handout have against this previous student. The student at least had the courtesy to call me prior to submitting documents to the publisher. Can he do this without owing me anything, can he take my work, modify/edit it to prepare it for publishing, and call it his own?
Please help explain my options. Thank you.
1 Answer from Attorneys
You say you do not have a copyright, but your description suggests that you do. If you are the author of the work, and it meets the bare minimum of creativity, it is copyrighted. I suspect what you mean is that you have not registered the copyright ($35 last I checked, and you can do it online). Registering gives you the right to sue in federal court for statutory damages.
I suggest you go to www.copyright.gov for basic information on copyright and how to register.