This is a very complex topic for all the authors who have just planned to publish their book. The fact of the matter is the author owns the copyright the moment the book is published even if you have not even looked at the copyright registration. But if you have written a book and somebody else has published the same story before you did it, copyright law does not apply to that. It is applicable only if your book is published and/or you have got your copyright registration done. It is as simple and easy as that.
We have tried to explain you various aspects here which would be covered under the copyright:
- Once your book is published, no other printer or bookstore can copy the content and publish it again directly to its readers. This is covered under copyright law. Any reader needs to purchase the book from you or your distribution channel only. It cannot be sold, reproduced, distributed or translated without the permission from the copyright owner.
- A list of facts is not actually a work of copyright. For example, you compile a phonebook or a list of monuments, that is not a copyright content.
- The copyright does not just protect your text, but also the characters and the story line. Although names, short phrases, slogans, titles, expressions cannot be copyrighted.
- Copyright Registration is totally voluntary. Although registering your copyright at the copyright office will give you advantage legally if someone uses your work. It’s a very easy 10 minutes work. Simply go to copyright.gov, register yourself, fill in the forms, make a payment of $85 towards the copyright and your manuscript is submitted to U.S. copyright office and your work is done. This website is under the Library of Congress.
- Inserting a Copyright page in your book is very important. It needs a copyright symbol, year of publication, and the author name. It appears something like this: ©2020John Douglas. This page also generally includes the book edition number, publisher name, address and ISBN (very important).
- Adding a disclaimer in your book: This again is very important as it is to protect you if any of your readers claims about any misinformation or copyright infringement they find in the characters. For example, you may need to add a disclaimer like this in your fiction story “The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.” Or if you have written a non-fiction book about “Sure ways to loose weight” but your reader is not able to loose weight and he then puts a claim about fraud statements in your book, you can indeed protect yourself using a simple disclaimer alert in some sentence like, at your own risk.
- You do not need permission to use quotes in a book, but it’s important to mention the name of that person in front of it.
- You might have seen the term “works of public domain”. This the set of works which is not covered under copyright and is free for use for anyone. For example, you can use Shakespeare story and create a movie, it will not be a copyright infringement. It generally is for works which are very old beyond the copyright law or after the author is end for many-many years. Each country’s public domain laws vary, so it’s better to research about that country before considering someone’s work as in public domain.
- If your book is getting published with a traditional publisher, the publisher will generally get a contract signed by you stating that the work is your original and the publisher is waived off from any infringement and author will own the complete responsibility.