Randall Wood

Copyright; how do I actually do it?

If you’re like me you intend to have your books available world-wide. With that in mind you’ll need to know a few things about copyright.

I’ve been considering a blog post on copyright for some time as it’s one of the major steps in the process. Its also very important, too important to just devote a few lines to.

However, covering everything that really needs to be covered would take more space than a blog post should. It’s also A) been done already, and B) done by people that are more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.

Therefore I have chosen to abandon my own opus on copyright and break it down into the two parts self-publishers need here:

Mainly, why do I need to worry about copyright, and how do I actually get it done?

To answer question one there is no better source than The Copyright Handbook by Stephen Fishman.

It’s written specifically for authors and covers everything needed in detail. I paid $26 for a new copy and it was worth twice that. The book now sits on a shelf within arms reach and is full of post-its. You’ll never find a better guide in my opinion.

As for actually performing the act I found very little I could improve on in this blog post from Carla King. She walks you through the process step-by-step using screenshots and colored arrows pointing to everything she is steering you through. Its the kind of article you wish more people would write as she understands that not all of her readers are as computer savvy as she is. You can link to the post here.

The only thing I would add is that you should be prepared with a complicated 8 digit password and a password question. You’ll also need all of your contact information to include both of your addresses. (your home and publishing address [PO Box])

The cost for copyrighting a book is $35 as of the day of this blog post (Oct 12, 2012). That’s per book. If you have more than one book to copyright you need not start over each time. For a government website its actually a very efficient process. You simply register once and then you have the option to autofill several forms from that point on. When you’re finished you’ll receive confirmation e-mails within minutes. Ironically the process has about 35 steps and took me 35 minutes to complete. (this is for copyright in the U.S.)

Be not afraid. Its the government, but its not that bad. For the actual copyright office you can click on any of the following links:

US Copyright

UK Copyright

Australia Copyright

For those who feel they don’t need to copyright their work, all I can say is please read the book before you make that decision. You’ll thank yourself later.

Domain Name registration                         $20

Monthly fee  x 3 months                              $12

Website back-up plan                                  $13

36 months of hosting                                  $187

Registration with the State                      $119

P.O. Box                                                          $52

County Tax Certificate                              $10

ISBN’s  (500)                                               $575

Copyright                                                     $35

Total                                                              $1023

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