The relaxation of the irreversible magnetization in optimally doped YBCO films with natural and artificial pinning centres was measured in zero-field cooling conditions using SQUID magnetometry. The external magnetic field H was oriented along the c axis. An appropriate method for the determination of the characteristic vortex pinning energy from the normalized vortex-creep activation energy is discussed. This is based on the existence of a crossover elastic (collective) vortex creep at low temperatures T - plastic vortex creep at high T, caused by the T dependent macroscopic currents induced in the sample during magnetization measurements.
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