What is supporting evidence?
Supporting evidence falls into two categories:
- Evolution of ideas
This is defined as evidence that the work progressed over a period of time, rather than being copied from elsewhere, and normally takes the form of development work such as:
- Background research,
- Draft versions,
- Rough sketches,
- First recordings etc.
If you include your evolution of ideas work at the time of registration*, you will also establish independent date and content evidence of your supporting work as additional protection, you will also have the assurance that if you lose or discard your original development work, we can provide a duplicate if it is ever required.
Once your work has been registered, you can also use the registration update facility to submit new updates and revisions, this will provide independently verifiable evidence to prove the evolution of your work.
- Version control systems
Using a version control system is an good way to provide evidence of evolution.
Version control systems are used to record and track modifications to files, enabling the user to retrieve earlier versions of the work and track development. They typically also allow multiple users to access and develop the same files across a local network or the Internet, a feature widely used by open source developers.
Commercially available version control software includes products such as ClearCase from IBM, Microsoft Source Safe and PVCS. Fortunately for individual users and smaller companies, there are some excellent alternatives available for free. These include the open source SubVersion, and CVS (Concurrent Versions System).
- Copyright registration updates
The registration update facility used to register updates to your work. This enables you to include any new content in the registration, whilst still retaining the original registration date, and evidence of the original content of your work. Updates processed in this manner are linked with your existing registration, and protected from the date we process the application. This also provides evidence of ‘evolution of ideas’ and demonstrates that your work has evolved and developed.
Even if you use a version control system, you are still able to register updates as independent proof of the date and evolution of your work.
- Footprints or watermarking
You can also insert supporting evidence into finished documents:
Footprints are deliberate mistakes or hidden elements that will be known only to you. A typical example would be the software designer who includes redundant subroutines that make it possible to identify the authorship in some way.
Watermarks are algorithms embedded inside a file which can be read by special readers, they are particularly relevant to image files, and many software image packages (such as Adobe Photoshop) provide facilities to include watermark information.
* Additional development work may require more than one registration for postal applications depending on size of work.
We also recommend registering development work earlier if it will be used speculatively for publishers etc.
To preserve the integrity of our evidence, registrations cannot be amended once made, future developments must be processed as separate revisions using the registration update facility referred to above.