Registering Copyright


NOTE: I am not a qualified lawyer, and these are just brief notes about the subject from my personal experience. All opinions and suggestions are mine alone.


Copyright in the UK (see link below):

Basically, there is no formal legal/corporate procedure, because of the nature of copyright. It comes into being automatically when you create a work. Therefore our book(s) are legally copyrighted from the day we write them.

However, you may choose to establish additional proof.

It makes sense to keep a record of the manuscript (MS) – backup / disc / dated files / whatever – so that the author can prove *when* they first worked on it, just in case there is any subsequent issue of plagiarism. Another familiar and favoured method is to mail yourself a copy of the completed MS (to be kept in its sealed envelope) which will then be dated independently by the mail provider.

But these are not “special” methods with valid legal weight, just internal housekeeping methods.

Copyright in the US (see link below):

The same legal principle applies i.e. the book’s copyright belongs to the author on creation, but further legal registration *is* accepted in the US.

US publishers may suggest registration for a book published in the US, because if there was any claim brought for plagiarism etc, the registration would be an extra support for the author’s case, and it will help reduce any ambiguity over court costs.

But it remains your choice whether to seek registration or not. Many contracts will mention it as a responsibility of the author.

How to …

It currently costs $35 per MS which isn’t too prohibitive.

Possible issues to consider:

(i) you used to have to pay the $35 by USD bankers’ draft, which will incur charges at a UK bank to obtain. However, I believe now you can do it online by credit card.

(ii) you may have to send a hard copy print-out of your MS to the US, which costs postage. However, the initial filing is by e-mail, so that may be sufficient.

(iii) your MS will be accessible to the public in the US, though you can file copyright under your pen name. It depends whether you have any concerns about being in the public domain.

(iv) you could wait months for the registration certificate to get back to you! I think my wait was at least 3 months.



Copyright / / 2019