So I’m performing all the piddly tasks attendant to filing while I wait for word of signatures when I come across this:

You may choose to copyright your manuscript by including the copyright notice but not formally registering your copyright. However, to fully protect your rights in a copyright dispute and to be eligible for damages caused by infringement, you must register your copyright. You can register your copyright at any time within its term.

If you are submitting a Ph.D. dissertation, you may have the copyright registered for you by UMI Dissertation Services (a division of ProQuest Information and Learning Company). To do this, submit the UMI form and required fee (certified check or money order—UMI does not accept personal checks) to the University Archives when you submit your manuscript. UMI will register your copyright and submit your manuscript to the Library of Congress.

I’m no copyright lawyer—nor do I understand commonplace copyright law all that well—but it seems excessive to have to pay someone else a fee to secure the rights to my own dissertation.  I’m inclined to slap a Creative Commons license requiring attribution, noncommmerical use, no derivatives and share alike and not pay anyone anything.

I’m not about to Doctorow the thing—no one’s likely to translate my dissertation into Romanian—but I’m fairly certain free copyright protection is better than expensive copyright protection.  Were I in the sciences and my research might one day mint some pharmaceutical company a forture I could see doing it.  But in the humanities?  Is it really necessary?  In other words:

Is my Jew showing or am I just being practical?