The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment.

Copyright your tax return!  Claim proprietary status? Sure! List confidential. Protect your information.

            Have you ever thought about the advantage of copyrighting your tax return? You should.  In summary, protection of your rights to your written work product is written into the U.S. Constitution.   Article 1, Section 8 clause 8. “The Congress shall have Power  *** To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”  This is the copyright clause.  This is also referred to as intellectual property.  And, is the basis for the tech companies, trillion dollar companies, each of the FAANG.  And the basis for the entertainment industry, such as Disney, Universal Studios, TV  and radio networks, academia, books, colleges and universities,  and so forth. 

         Copyright is automatic under the Berne Convention. But to enforce rights, the copy must be registered with the Library of Congress, and can be done online with about an hour of effort, and a two figure filing fee. Registering copyright is needed for enforcing rights in court, including damages in the hundreds of thousands for every violation.  Copyright warnings are often listed at the beginning of CDs for movies, with the seal of the FBI and a warning of $250,000 penalty for each violation.

         So the document is written, and registered with the copyright office.

Would authorship and copyright apply to the entries on a tax return?  Yes. A tax return is not a government produced document. The form is from the  government, but the entries are required by the filer.  The returns are not public domain entries. 

 What would copyrighting do for a tax return?  If not released by the author, the taxpayer, the return maintains its proprietary status, and copyright under the Berne Convention.  Meaning, any publication by a newspaper, magazine, internet provider,  speech writer, broadcaster, would enable damages under the copyright law.

What if a state or legislature demanded release of the tax return?  They might read it but any release, or violation of copyright, would make the publication eligible for damages.

The copyright notice is not even required, but is a nice touch.

Copyright © 2019, all rights reserved. Proprietary and Confidential.

If you have filed your return,  and want the copyright claim noticed, file an amendment, a fresh 1040 Amended, with the notice.

U. S. Constitution Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1.   The members of the House and Senate  ‘’ shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from  Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.’’ This is referred to as the Speech and Debate clause, the effect of which covers Congressmen when they want to speak on classified, secret, and national security communications.   Whether being liable for copyright violations is unknown. But even  if  a Congressman revealed copyrighted material, any republication is a violation of copyright. So, the Congress might hear it, or see it, but the news outlets can’t see or hear it for republication, without liability.  There are some limited exemptions for fair use, but most commercial sources won’t risk an infringement.

Copyright law is massive, broad, historic, and valuable.  But the claim of copyright, is simple, inexpensive, and convenient.   And, beside tax returns, mark the copyright notice on every request for permit, license, or registration.

‘’FBI Anti-Piracy Warning Seal

‘’A new federal regulation regarding the FBI’s Anti-Piracy Warning (APW) Seal took effect several years ago—41 CFR Section 128-1.5009 authorizes use of the APW Seal by all U.S. copyright holders, subject to specific conditions of use. Copyrighted works can include, but are not limited to, films, audio recordings, electronic media, software, books, photographs, etc. The purpose of the APW Seal is to remind media users of the serious consequences of pirating copyrighted works. Use of this seal does not indicate that the FBI has reviewed or validated copyright interests in the particular work and does not provide greater legal protection to the work. It simply serves as a widely recognizable reminder of the FBI’s authority and mission with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights.

Those wishing to use the APW Seal must obtain the image directly from our website and display it directly adjacent to the authorized warning language. Additionally, copyright holders are encouraged to use independent, industry-recognized copyright anti-circumvention or copy protection techniques to discourage copying of the APW Seal. The new 41 CFR Section 128-1.5009 also prohibits use of the APW Seal on any work whose production, distribution, sale, public presentation, or mailing would violate the laws of the United States. Any use indicating the FBI has approved, authorized, or endorsed any work or product, or that the FBI has determined that any portion of a work is entitled to protection of the law, is also prohibited.’’

Disclaimer: The author of each article published on this web site owns his or her own words. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Utah Standard News or official policies of the USN and may actually reflect positions that USN actively opposes. No claim in public domain or fair use.    © John Choate. UTopiAH are trade marks of copyright owner. Utopia was written about AD 1515 by Sir Thomas More.