What is the ‘Poor Man’ Copyright?
The ‘Poor Man’ Copyright consists of using a registered date by the postal service, thereby helping to establish that the authorship work has been in the owner's possession for a specific day. The idea behind this method is very simple: you create an original work, envelope and send it to yourself; upon its return, it has both your name and a date stamp, positive proof that the work belonged to you on that date and was created before that. All you have to do is to keep the envelope closed and the work in a safe place.
This method is based on the idea that in the event that the authorship work has been misused by a third party, the Poor Man copyright would at least establish a legally recognized date of possession before any evidence that a third party may possess. This could be helpful in countries where a copyright registration authority is not established since it can be difficult for an author to prove when his/her work has been created. By contrast, in countries where a copyright registration authority exists (e.g. the U.S.), the Poor Man method is not a substitute for registration.