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How To Copyright A Book – Copyright Basics 101

by | Mar 18, 2014 | The Writer's Tool Box | 2 comments

How To Copyright A Book - Copyright Basics 101

Copyrighting your book is an important step in the process of becoming an author. It helps protect against people taking or using your work without permission. This article will share how to copyright a book and when should you file for one.

How To Copyright A Book

If you’re unsure about how to protect your work, consider the following suggestions.

 First, a quick disclaimer: I am not a copyright attorney, and this article should not be taken as legal advice. Please use this only as a guide for where to find more information about how to protect your work. Keep in mind this is for authors in the United States. Copyright laws in other countries may be different.

Okay, so here are the most common questions about copyrighting a book.


How To Copyright A Book - Copyright Basics 101

How do I copyright my book?
 The process is actually pretty easy. You can download and complete the copyright forms on the U.S. Copyright Office web site, and send it in with your payment and two bound copies of your manuscript.

There are some advantages to filing your copyright online.

Do I need to copyright my book before I show it to an agent/editor/writing coach/beta reader/colleague/teacher?

No. As soon as you write your manuscript, your book is under copyright protection.

Filing an official copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office makes it public record.

If someone tries to claim your work as their own, you can pursue legal action against them. At court, you would just produce your copyright registration to the judge. Having a copyright claim is a common concern, but that concern can be eased by filing at the appropriate time.

What about the title of my book, can I copyright that?

Sorry. You can’t copyright a title, which means that anyone can use the exact same title you’ve used for your book.

However, before you try and name your book The Color Purple, know that some books qualify for trademark protection.

If it’s in the best interest of the book, consider changing the book title to alleviate market confusion.

How to copyright a book idea?

You can’t. Copyrights don’t protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods.

Can I put the copyright symbol on my work, even if I haven’t filed the official paperwork?

Yes. Use the symbol © or the capital “C” in a circle, followed by the date the work was created, and include the owner of copyright.

Protecting your book with a copyright is essential. It will help protect your work against plagiarism and use without permission.

Will you be filing for copyright protection? Please share in the comment section below.

NEXT: What Does ISBN Stand For?

How To Copyright A Book - Copyright Basics 101


    • Stefanie

      Correct Brad, I'll edit that to make it clearer, thanks!Sent from my iPhone