The "little" part is: Yes, protect yourself. Copyright your work and then eventually hire someone to make sure that your work is not being purloined. (Don't you love that word?)
There are a few "chapters" to this information, so we'll start with this one: How to collect your artwork so that you can get it copyrighted.
(1) Create an Excel (or other spreadsheet) document that will show the NAMES of all of the pieces that you are submitting, the DATE you are submitting, and the DATE OF YOUR COPYRIGHT, when you receive that acknowledgement.
(2) Start placing your work onto an 8 1/2 x 11 page in Microsoft Word or your favorite Word program. The Goal: To make your artwork the appropriate size to have the detail visible to the Copyright office personnel's naked eye. (So this means, if you have a piece with a lot of detail, you might want to put just one on a page. If not, you can do 2 or more.) Don't make it difficult for the viewer to wonder if this really was your artwork - particularly when you're in the middle of a court case!
(a) Choose which works to place on pages in a fashion that works for your mind. If you like to keep track by theme, go for it! If you are doing your very first copyright venture, and you have too many pieces of artwork to count, you may want to start with the first folder and simply work down to the last. Just make sure to keep track in your Tracking Spreadsheet or you'll get as confused as I've been known to do on occasion. :-)
(3) Under each image, type the name of the artwork. Some have suggested using a naming convention that includes your own name. It's up to you, but it must be named, or you can lose usage battles. (The Copyright office personnel told me this is happening right now in the courts - not pretty!) You can also use the copyright symbol and your business name, if you like, at the bottom of the page; that is something I like to do - it seems like an extra protection, but it is neither suggested by nor disliked by the Copyright office. (They are fine with it if you want to use it - they said that they encourage use of the copyright symbol wherever you wish to use it...tattoo, anyone?)
(4) The document you are going to submit to the Copyright office - online, as that is the cheapest, quickest way to go - has no limit to the number of pieces you submit at one time! That's good news. Tara Reed, Art Licensor Extraordinaire, suggests turning your final document into a pdf. Pdf's can't be easilly messed with, once they're created - no problems with pages breaking at the wrong place, etc. If you don't know how to create a pdf, let me know. I'll post a blog on it.
There is more detail to come - but this will get you started on collecting your artwork.
So much to do, so much time spent at the day job!
Carry on! - Lori