Should I Copyright My Book Before Sending It to a Publisher?

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Should I Copyright My Book Before Sending It to a Publisher?

Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but releasing a book is a joint venture, often involving a publishing house.

You may be familiar with how copyright works, but when it comes to copywriting your book, the appropriate timing is a valid concern.

Reasons Why Someone Should Copyright a Book

Your book, and pretty much any work of authorship you put in a tangible form, has a default DMCA protection. This is automatic copyright that any content gets the moment it's created.

The protection is granted by the U.S. copyright laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and lasts during the author's lifetime and an additional 70 years.

This default protection will not keep you safe from copyright infringement because it doesn't make a public record of your ownership over the book.

Registering your book with the U.S. Copyright Office does that, and the copyright certificate you get after registration can serve as evidence in court.

Additional perks of registering copyright for your book are:

  • A proof of ownership in case you want to report copyright infringement
  • Protection against the importation of infringing works
  • Ability to send demand letters to anyone for stealing your content
  • Eligibility for statutory damages, attorney fees, and lawsuit-related costs

Should I Register My Story for Copyright Before Submitting It to Publishers?

You can register your book before submitting it to the publisher, but there is no need to do this.

It may create unnecessary confusion and extra costs down the line.

Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Your first draft will not be a final book. Every publisher has an editorial team that will make changes to your work
  2. Copyright registration costs are far from affordable. If you register the first draft and then the finished product, you will have to pay the fee twice
  3. Publishers will usually copyright the finished book in your name. They handle the process, but your name stays on the copyright
  4. Publishers (in most cases) won't steal your work. This may have crossed your mind, especially if you are a first time writer. How would any publishing house remain successful if they stole from their writers?
  5. In case your work ever gets copied, and you have multiple versions registered, how will you know which certificate to use when suing the infringers?

My Publisher Didn't Register Copyright for My Published Book

This rarely happens, but in case there was no clause in the contract that the publisher takes care of the copyright registration, you can do it yourself.

You have two options to register your book with the U.S. Copyright Office:

Registering OnlineRegistering via Post
  • This is a cheaper option
  • You can do it by going to the Register tab on the U.S. Copyright Office website and following the prompts
  • You have to submit a copy of your work—hard or electronic
  • This is the more expensive option since the filing fee is $85
  • You can submit the printed application and copy of your work via post

What To Do if Someone Steals Your Work

While protecting your book is always recommended, once it's out there, there is no guarantee someone won't try to steal a part of your content or publish your entire book online, making it available for download.

Should that happen, you have a powerful tool at your disposal—a DMCA takedown notice.

This document serves as a copyright infringement notice and lets you reach out to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) behind the website hosting the stolen content. It's an easy way to get that content removed without ever having to deal with the person who stole it.

Some platforms offer a form you can fill out to file a copyright infringement notice, but with most websites, you would have to draft one yourself, which can be a complex task.

Every takedown notice should include specific sections and contain enough jargon to convince the ISP that you mean business. That is not always simple to achieve when you're drafting the notice yourself.

Check out what information any takedown notice should include:

  • Your contact info like name, phone number, and email address will help the ISP to contact you
  • Proof of ownership like a copyright certificate from the U.S. copyright office
  • Link to the website where your content is originally posted
  • Links to the websites with the stolen content
  • A statement of good faith where you confirm that you are indeed the copyright owner and that the website is hosting your content without permission
  • An accuracy statement in which you assert under penalty of perjury that the information you've provided is true to the best of your knowledge
  • An electronic signature

Create a DMCA Notice With DoNotPay

While you can draft the notice yourself, you risk missing one of the crucial elements.

DoNotPay can generate a tailor-made takedown notice that will help you take care of copyright infringers quickly.

Our app is the first AI Consumer Champion in the world, acknowledged by the American Bar Association Louis M. Brown Award for Access and an expert in creating complex documents.

Here is how to create and send a DMCA takedown notice with our app:

  1. Open DoNotPay in your
  2. Tap the DMCA Takedown feature
  3. Provide us with the title of your content
  4. Paste the link to the website offering your content without permission
  5. Give us the link to the original website
  6. Click on the Sign and Submit button

We will manage the rest of the process. You can check the progress under the My Disputes tab.

Discover Other Amazing Features DoNotPay Can Offer

Our app has got you covered when it comes to learning how to copyright your content.

We can show you how to draft a copyright notice, which may help discourage potential thieves. Creating a copyright notice is completely free since it's only a line of text you can place anywhere in your book. While it doesn't carry the same weight as a copyright certificate, it offers an extra layer of protection.

If you plan to include original visual content in your book, it's important to know how to copyright artwork and images.

You should also familiarize yourself with how to avoid copyright infringement in case you are using non-original content. If you plan to write a book series, your derivative works are already copyrighted, but you should check out how to copyright a character in any case.

DoNotPay can guide you through the copyright procedures on any social media platform, including reporting copyright infringement on Facebook and Instagram or filing a copyright claim on YouTube.

Open DoNotPay in your and discover how we can help you with:

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