Whenever you open the first page of the book, you are usually greeted by the traditional copyright page with the title and a copyright disclaimer. But do you need to copyright your book before publishing it? While you can get your book copyrighted, it’s not a legal requirement.
In this article, we find out if you need to copyright your book and how to copyright your work before publication.
Do You Need To Copyright Your Book Before Publication?
There is no legal requirement under US copyright law that you need to get your book copyrighted before publishing. In fact, the United States copyright law states that every book, including self-published books, is protected automatically by copyright the moment you write your story down.
Copyright protects your creative authorship and it is not dependent on the format that your story takes. This being said, many publishers still recommend copyright for your book as you get a number of legal benefits with your publication copyright.
However, even without registering your book for copyright, you can put a copyright page inside your book that clearly states that you are the author who owns the copyright for this piece of work.
Benefits Of Book Copyright
While your book is automatically protected without registering it with the US copyright office, there are a few legal advantages that make copyrighting a good idea.
Public Record Of Authorship
One of the biggest benefits of registering a copyright for your book is that there is a public and legal record of your authorship. This can be particularly important if you need to prove your authorship or if there is an infringement trial in future.
This means that you can legally prove that you are the author of this work and it holds more weight in the court of law.
Registered Copyright Protects Your Book From Reproduction
When you make a contract with a publisher, then you keep your authorship copyright but you allow the author to reproduce the book. If anyone other than your publisher reproduces your work or sells your work as their own, then you have the right to sue for infringement of intellectual property.
It doesn’t matter how someone reproduces your book, from cheap printed copies and digital audiobooks to movie rights. You still hold all the original reproduction rights, unless agreed otherwise with your publisher.
Protection Against Distortion
When you register the copyright for your book, then you are also legally protected against any way in which your book may be distorted. This could be politically motivated distortion through to other design uses for other pieces of artwork.
Should You Copyright Your Book Before Sending It To A Publisher?
You don’t have to copyright your book before you send it off to a publisher for review. Professional publishers should keep all book reviews confidential. In addition, the copyright of your book always remains with you as the author. This means that if someone claims your story or book as their own, then you have legal grounds to sue.
However, writers can choose to register their book with the US copyright office to ensure that their work is covered fully by copyright law.
How To Copyright A Book?
If you want to make sure that your book is fully legally protected and your authorship recognized, then you can get your book registered with the US copyright office. While the process doesn’t take very long, it’s a little bit of paperwork and you will need to fill in a few forms. That’s why, there are also copyright companies that handle the process for you.
However, you can also easily do the registration yourself. First, visit the registration portal on the US copyright office, and then select Literary works. The Literary works page gives you some information about what types of literary pieces you can register officially.
Once you are sure that your type of literary work is part of this, then click on “Register a Literary Work”. Next, you will need to create an account with the copyright office. Then you can start your registration and go through the registration form.
Lastly, you will be asked to pay your registration fee and you will then receive confirmation of your official book copyright registration. As a final step, you will also need to send a final copy of your book to the Library of Congress once it’s published.
How Much Does It Cost To Copyright A Book?
Registering your written work with the US copyright office isn’t very expensive. The fees vary between $45 and $140. There are different categories of registration. If you only have a single application for a published work, then you pay the lowest fee.
If your book has multiple authors or includes multiple works, then it’s slightly more expensive. The most expensive registration is for unpublished books and paper registrations.
How To Create A Copyright Page For Your Self-Published Book?
If you want to self-publish your book, then it’s a good idea to make your written work look professional and include a traditional copyright page. Here are all the elements that a copyright page needs.
Title And Subtitle
Your copyright page needs the title and subtitle at the top. It’s a good idea to check other published works for their copyright page. Some books even include a reference to the book cover designer and the type font but these elements are optional.
The copyright notice includes the copyright symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner (usually the author) and the year of publication.
All Rights Reserved
You should also state “All rights reserved”. This is a note for the reader to respect the author’s rights.
It’s a good idea to simply copy and paste a disclaimer from your favorite book. Just make sure that it’s a similar genre to yours.
While you don’t legally need a copyright before publishing, many publishers recommend registering your book copyright to protect your work in future.