I’ve been playing File Roulette for awhile, now.
Like that time that Kramer decided to drive as far as he could on an empty tank, I think I am getting a kind of cheap thrill from wondering whether tomorrow will be the day that all my precious literature is lost on a corrupt disk. I know I should have a backup routine, and I keep promising myself that I will create one, but the thoughts of configuring NAS servers and setting up incremental routines is enough to send me searching for that box of Snackwells, instead. This brings me to our newest messiah–that heavenly saviour of digital storage–the omnipresent cloud.
Even its name–‘The Cloud’–conjures images of harp-plucking elitists idly promising us that all will be well with our data. As writers, though, should we believe this promise? The very nature of our work depends on copyrighting, and every minute that it is ‘out there’ just feels insecure to me. While it is harder to lose a file on The Cloud, surely it must be easier to steal one.
Sure, I have some technological background, so I understand some of the reassurances about secure servers and protocols. I’ll even go so far as to admit that my work is probably safer from hackers on The Cloud than it would be on my own homegrown server… but not safer than it is on a USB stick that I remove when my day’s work is finished. Something about uploading unprotected work just feels wrong. It feels unsafe.
And that’s the uneasy feeling that led me to the U.S. Copyright Service.
Registering all of my work for copyright, all at once, was one of the easiest things I have ever done. It only cost in the order of $50.00, and there is now a safe tome of three novels and several dozen short stories on file, creatively entitled K. Leitch Copyright 2016. While Microsoft and Google are asking me to deify them for their cloud services, I find it easier to invest that faith the U.S. Government: at least, so far as protecting my writing is concerned. If you still don’t feel safer, just recite their site’s subheading like a mantra: “..a department of the Library of Congress… a department of the Library of Congress…”
As one of the meek, I’m not ready to count on inheriting the Earth–that’s a topic for tomorrow’s post–but I do want to protect my own little patch of dirt, no matter how mucky. Go ahead and buy yourself some peace of mind. You’ll sleep better, I promise.
More importantly, you won’t have any excuses left about making those backups.