Before publishing promotional material of my first indie game I wanted to mark all my artwork with a legally valid timestamp.

There are two ways I know to do this:

 1 go to a sollecitor/lawyer and pay for them to certify the document
 2 use an online webservice to mark any given file/folder readable to the service

Anyone has already done this and if yes how (e.g. which website have you used? which type of solecitor have you contacted? etc..)?

I am doing all this because I have prepared a kickstarter video that I wanted to publish in these days to ask for some additional funds to complete my game and, as it contains sequences of the game, I am at the same time worried about publishing it (somebody might copy the characters as I say in the video that I would like to do also a comic book series based on those characters). I guess that "eCO" (or something similar) becomes a must in this case right?

Kind Regards

PS: I know that there is always the good old "send yourself a mail with a stamp and a date" but is not very strong as proof.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Assuming that you're in the USA, you can register your works directly with the govt copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf and this PDF has a good, plain english discussion and set of instructions. The filing can be done online and, in fact, electronic registration is preferred by the govt office. Mailing yourself a document, not so good like you already know. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 30, 2013 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatrickHughes post that as an answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Pip
    Jun 30, 2013 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ If I had some deeper advice with more information then sure but simple links are frowned upon as full answers on the stack and for good reason. Enjoy, and congratulations on getting to this stage in your title! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 30, 2013 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatrickHughes this stage in my title? BTW ping my using @ TheProgramm3r if you respond next time \$\endgroup\$
    – Pip
    Jun 30, 2013 at 21:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatrickHughes unfortunately me and my company are based in the UK. Can people from outside the US send things to the govt website? I read the guide for submitting via "eCO" and it seems possible but I am not sure + I am wondering if I can consider myself the owner of the collection of work (soundtrack and illustration). I, as director of my small startup, have commissioned the creation of artwork and sountrack to musicians and I got them to sign a contract where they transfer the economical rights of the work to me (music) and all the applicable copyright (illustrator) according to the.. \$\endgroup\$
    – mm24
    Jun 30, 2013 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


When your intention is to secure copyright by proving that you published your work first, and you don't want to pay for a certification by a 3rd party, just put your work on the web.

The internet wayback machine is often used as evidence how a website looked at a past date and what content it had.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So putting the work on Kickstarter would be already publishing it correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – mm24
    Jul 1, 2013 at 8:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mm24 - I can't speak to the legality, but I imagine Kickstarter has a pretty good set of history/audit controls, just to absolve themselves of some related problems. Some artist sites store revisions of work, and cloud storage options might be able to provide equivalent functions. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2013 at 20:40

while not quite the answer you search, just a little word of advice I learn recently : one of my friend's father is lawyer specialized in corporation business, and he told me to launch an alpha version, shows a demo, or even just show off to friend and family the concept of your game as early as possible as an Indie game dev. What you want to do is to make them sign a form prior to showing them. You write down that your working title is confidential, that they cant talk about it blablabla. The important part of that document is the date, as it serve as a proof that you were working on this project at the date shown on the document, and that you have a person who can attest to it.


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