Copyright – What is it and Does my Book Need it?

CopyrightUnderstanding the rules of copyright protection can be rather complicated. With all the exceptions and loopholes, sometimes it’s hard to know what copyrighting your book can actually do for you.

5 things you should know about Copyright:

When Does a Copyright Start?

Copyright protection starts the moment your work is produced in a tangible form. While it is not required that you register your book with the Copyright Office to receive copyright protection, there are benefits to registering a copyright. First, it creates a public record of your copyright, and second, without registration an author cannot file an infringement lawsuit. This means that if someone is copying your work without your permission, there isn’t much that can be done unless the book is registered.

How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

The term of copyright lasts for a long period of time, but it varies depending on the author. As we learned above, the copyright protection begins when the book is created. The protection lasts until 70 years after the death of the author. Once the copyright expires the book will fall into “public domain,” meaning anyone can copy the work without permission.

How to Tell a Book is Copyrighted?

It is not required for a book to show that it is copyrighted in order for it to be protected by copyright. The “Use of Notice” is what can be found at the beginning of a book to show the public that the work is protected by law. The “Use of Notice” contains three things:

  • “Copyright,” “Copr,” or ©
  • Name of the copyright owner
  • Year of the first publication of the book

Who Owns the Copyright in Joint Work?

When two or more authors write a book together they have created joint work and they equally share the ownership of the copyright. It is possible for the copyright ownership to be divided differently if it has been agreed upon between the parties involved.

Why Care About Copyrighting Your Work?

A lot of hard work and time goes into writing a book and it shouldn’t go unnoticed. Copyright laws help to keep your work yours. It gives you the right to decide what happens to your book and the opportunity to protect what you have created. Copyright allows authors, musicians and artists to publically display their works without the worry someone else might call it theirs.

As you can see, a copyright’s main purpose is to protect an author and their book. It may be slightly difficult to understand all the rules of copyright laws, but it’s important to know and understand them in order to guard your work.


  1. The overview of my book, “S.I.L.O. INTERNMENT HEATHER’S ANGUISH” was tampered with on the Barnes and Nobles book site. I have original copies of the overview and made copies of the change in wording. This seems to be corrected.
    How did this happen in the first place?

  2. Does Westbow Press file for copyright protection in behalf of the author? I wanted to know, in case I have to do this. Thanks.

  3. I would like to know if there are any rules about what the copyright date should be. I have a new edition of a previous ebook coming out. I would like to actually get it out this November (2013). Must I copyright it for 2013, or can I put a 2014 copyright date on it?

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