Q. Are there still publications that are not copyrighted? And if so, is there a problem with submitting to them? What's at stake here?
A. Yes, there are unfortunately still a number of periodicals that do not bother to register the copyright on their publications. Just to clarify, if a publication is copyrighted, any material included in the publication is protected under that same copyright. In order to protect your material when the publication is not copyrighted, you need to ask them to carry your copyright notice on your piece. When requesting this, give them the notice as you want it to appear, i.e. © 2014 Your Name. Most publishers do not mind doing that, as long as you make your request clear in the cover letter that accompanies your submission. However, since this is an added action to their usual procedure, they may forget. If that should happen, you can contact the Copyright office and ask for a form that corrects the omission of a copyright. However, unless it is an important piece in particular danger of being stolen, that action may be more trouble than it is worth.