Copyright law, when it comes time to copyright a book, like all literary intellectual property, is simple to understand, as copyright protection is an automatic right. Under the Berne Convention, there's no need to register your book or written work with a copyright office. However, should you ever have a copyright dispute in future, you'll need to prove that you're the original author of your book or written work and the date it was completed.
This can be much harder to prove than it may seem. With the advent of the Internet, whilst making our lives easier on many fronts, one of the consequences of it is that copyright infringement of intellectual property has become a growing problem so it's important to understand how copyright protection works for your books and exactly how to copyright a book, before publishing and releasing it into the public domain, especially if you plan on self publishing on somewhere like Amazon.
Even though copyright is an automatic right, you should still be aware of how to copyright a book and what you'll need to provide if anyone was to infringe your work, should you want to take action against them.
Follow these 4 simple steps to ensure copyright protection of your book:
Keep these points in mind as you are writing and creating literary works as they can really help prove your copyright for books and save a lot of time and stress if there was an infringement at a later date.
The official way to show the copyright of a book, is to add a copyright page or notice with the use of the copyright symbol (this is the © circle C) and adding details of the copyright, such as the year of publication and the copyright holder. Adding a copyright page is essential. Below is a book copyright example:
Using a copyright registration service like ProtectMyWork.com to copyright your book or literary work can make it much quicker and easier to prove you are the original author of your work and legitimate, original copyright owner. You'll receive a unique reference number and digital certificate when you register your book, showing you've taken action to copyright your book which is very important when self publishing. Adding this unique reference number to the copyright page or notice, works well as an effective copyright theft deterrent, so we advise something like this:
The start registration year or the year of publication to the current year is important, in order to show when the copyrighted work was created and that it is still active. The copyright owner of course should be displayed and the registration number of the copyright office, which in this case is ProtectMyWork.com. Adding this information as a copyright page in the front of the book avoids any confusion over who is the rightful copyright owner.
To ensure your books are protected by copyright law, using a copyright registration service such as ProtectMyWork.com has many benefits. Mainly, it offers immediate copyright proof and is quick, easy and offers immediate copyright protection as well as a low cost to setup to copyright a book.
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There are three common misconceptions that authors believe they can prove the copyright of their work:
Copyrighting your book using these methods is not advisable and certainly not indisputable.
Believe it or not, dates and times on computer files can be changed. By going into the properties of the file, the date can be amended. Therefore, this is not a 100% safe way to prove the copyright of your book and not reliable in the event of a copyright infringement case.
Breaking this down further, you may find yourself having to prove that the computer the Microsoft Word of digital document was written on, was is in fact your computer. This can be a very difficult thing to prove. If a third party was to dispute the computer or files, you may need to independently verify this with a computer specialist which will inevitably cause delay and incur extra cost.
Another common method is to email your book to yourself or a friend, which in theory is a good idea but again, email content and email headers can be changed and amended. So as with the dates on computer files, if this was to be disputed you may find that you have to contact your internet service provider and ask them to verify through their web logs that the email, date and time was in fact correct and not altered.
This will of course take time and no doubt add a level of stress as you try and navigate yourself through to the right department and support technician with the right authority and request the required data. The reality is, this type of support request may never be fulfilled and you may never be able to prove you are the original copyright holder depending on this method.
Many years ago, in a simpler time, this was the way to prove that you were the copyright author of a book or piece of intellectual property. Sending a hard copy to yourself in the post was known as "The Poor Man's Copyright". This is where you print your book are written work, put it in a sealed envelope and send it to yourself. The date stamp on the envelope provided by the post office would serve as proof of time for the existence of the work.
The big disadvantage to this is that you then have to save these envelopes in a safe place for the duration of your life (plus 70 years). If they were lost, misplaced or damaged, they obviously can't be used as your proof of your copyright. Lastly, if there was an copyright infringement case to resolve, once you open the envelope it can't be used as proof in the future as the envelope is no longer sealed. If you had multiple copyright infringements over time, you would need to send yourself several envelopes to protect yourself against this.
In addition, if your book was published on Amazon without your permission, it's not possible to send Amazon an envelope and ask them to check the date of the postage, open it and look inside for a copy of your book.
This is neither a practical nor efficient way to protect the copyright of your book any more.
Consider instead a copyright office like ProtectMyWork.com when it comes time to copyright a book.
Copyrighting your intellectual property with a copyright office like ProtectMyWork.com is quick and easy. Just register an account for £41.65 (ex. VAT) per year and you can upload as many literary works as you write. Simply buy "tokens" for £1 (ex. VAT) each, pay-as-you-go, You need one token to upload a set of work (up to five separate attachments, so you can upload previous drafts of your book as the work progressed).
Once you've added your book to your account, you receive a unique reference number and digital certificate as proof of your copyright with all the required details included such as your name, pen name or business name and of course, the date and time the work was registered. You'll be able to quickly share this proof with a third-party such as as a publisher or add it in the cover page of the book to make everyone aware your work is copyrighted and you have been proactive in protecting your legal rights.
Needless to say, this proof can save a lot of stress and be a huge time saver should you need to prove your copyright to a third party, as you'll be able to clearly show the evidence required, which could be vital if you need to serve a takedown notice or to file a small claims court action.
Lastly, having a central, digital hub of all your literary work means you can manage everything in one place in an organised and searchable format.
ACX is a marketplace where original authors can network with narrators, recording studios and producers in order to create an audiobook and sell on Amazon's Audible.com.
It's estimate that approximately one hundred thousand books are published each year but less than five thousand are ever released as audiobooks which indicates there is huge growth potential for this in future. Many authors are now considering not just to publish their books in written format but also in audio.
An original author has the copyrights to an audiobook and can therefore use the ACX service to meet and network with people who can produce audiobooks.
ACX may ask you to provide copyright information to make sure you are the original copyright holder and have the publishing rights to any content you upload or post to the ACX system, ensuring that all copyright law is adhered to. Members of Protect My Work have been able to prove the copyright of their books to ACX using our copyright certificates.
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Be aware that the copyright information is the print or eBook copyright owner's name, the print or eBook copyright year, and the Audiobook copyright owner's name. This information can be read within the closing credits of the Audiobook and will be displayed on the retail sites when the book is available for sale.
Finally, it's important to know how long the copyright of your work lasts because it's not forever. For any literary works written these days, copyright law provides that the copyright is the intellectual property of the author for their lifetime, plus 70 years.
Register the copyright of your book and all your artistic works in just a few minutes.
Start registration today and your book copyright will be registered and witnessed by ProtectMyWork.com immediately. Should you find yourself in the middle of a copyright infringement in future, you'll be able to prove the copyright of your book quickly and easily with all your copyrighted work in one place.