As an aspiring author, I'm always on the lookout for information about various viewpoints and actual cases on copyright law. Lee Goldberg's recent post about the matter is absolutely fascinating, as are the comments. Really, go read the post.
I'm going to have to make it a point in my will that all my journals and maybe even unpubbed work should be burned, my harddrives taken through an EM field, etc. By the time I die, there's probably going to be a damn good reason that stuff has remained my "private collection." I journal sometimes just to get thoughts out of my head that I really don't want there. If I didn't want them in my head, I certainly wouldn't want them making the rounds on the internet or whatever will pass for such in the time when my death may be something not statistically-speaking very far away. As I progress through my writing career, I may exempt specific manuscripts from this clause in my will because there may be a few books that I want to be pubbed but Death Calls before I am able to do so myself. And I'm going to get very particular about how such hypothetical MSs should be handled.
It's taken me a good three years to get comfortable with the concept of my more mature plot points and themes and such being out there associated with my name for all to see. Part of what made me comfortable with it is knowing that I have complete legal control over what the public will and will not see. This is not to say that I think all aspects of my words are perfect reflections of myself. No, quite the contrary. I've written characters that I would never want to meet in real life, worlds that make me shudder that they might ever come to exist beyond the page (or screen, or related merchandise, a woman's gotta dream, eh?). But there are places in my mind that I don't like to tread unless I am absolutely guaranteed that I'm going in alone or with a very trusted companion, where the words that live there strike too close to my own personal truths that are only my business to read. And my estate is going to damn well enforce that.
Of course, by the time I'm shuffling around in my 100s, I may be all about being a walking Freak Show and will have vanity-pubbed all my journals with purple glitter highlighting the really sordid bits and get them optioned for film and then do commentary on the DVD in which I reveal all the extra juicy stuff that rattled around in my head that I still managed to censor from even my private journals. And it will probably make for some very boring entertainment as I'm probably far less neurotic and racy even in my darkest mental nooks and cranies than I think I am. :)