Let’s talk copywriting!
In the past six months I’ve turned down two authors looking to showcase their ebooks on StoryFinds. Why? Because the work they were submitting sounded really familiar to me. I then did a quick google search with some key words and viola found what I believe to be the original ebooks on Amazon. I, of course, contacted the “real” authors to let them know about this and have since blocked the authors trying to pirate material already published. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. When I mentioned this to my other author friends they weren’t shocked and told me it happens all the time. Really?
So this got me thinking about why authors need to copyright their material. The main reason for copyrighting your work is to prove it’s yours. That may sound like a simple thing to you, the author, but to the court of law, simple has nothing to do with it. To ensure, without reasonable doubt, that you wrote your book it’s highly recommended to copyright your work. This creates a public record, which is then searchable by the courts and basically everyone in the world. And without that copyright you can’t sue someone for stealing your book or your
work, your setting, your world building or your characters.
So when should you copyright? Usually immediately once your final book is ready or within the first three months after publication. The good news is that US Copyright law is recognized in 167 countries.
How to file for copyright? This is easy. Go online to the U.S. Copyright Office. They will ask you to file the “best edition” so this is why you might consider waiting for your final copies from your publisher or your final copy you’re uploading to your distribution sites.
Costs? About $35 if you file on-line with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you mail in your work and the registration forms, the fee is $45.
Turn Around Time: If you file on-line it’s about six months and up to a year for paper filings. However, keep in mind, you are legally covered based on the effective filing date of the registration is the date that it arrives at the U.S. Copyright Office, not when they process it.
Another great resource for authors is The Authors Guild which provides key information on copyright issues.
By Renee D Field, Founder, StoryFinds.com