Friday, October 11, 2013

Copyright FAQ

If you're self-publishing, or if you're publishing with certain traditional publishers, you'll probably want to register the copyright on your work.

Good news for American writers: You can still file an electronic copyright request during the government shutdown!

Do you have questions about what can and cannot be used in a book, such as song titles, how much of a song lyric, titles of other books, etc?

Here's a Copyright FAQ published by the US Copyright Office. And below I've put together a table of contents so you can find the answers to your questions more quickly.

Page 1:

  • What is Copyright?

Page 2:

  • Who can claim copyright?
  • Copyright and national origin of the work
Page 3: 
  • What works are protected?
  • What is not protected (what you can use, such as titles, etc)
  • How to secure a copyright
  • Definition of Publication
Page 4
  • Notice of copyright (Do you need to add one? Where should you put it if you add one? etc)
  • How long copyright protection endures 
Page 5
  • Transfer of copyright
  • International copyright protection
Page 6
  • Copyright registration
  • Registration procedures
Page 10
  • Effective date of registration
  • Corrections and amplifications of existing registrations
  • Mandatory deposit for works published in the United States (copies for the Library of Congress, not fees)
Page 11
  • Use of mandatory deposit to satisfy registration requirements
  • Who may file an application form?
  • Fees (rates not actually included as they may change--describes how to pay)
Page 12
  • Search of copyright office records
  • For further information (includes contact info)

If you're e-filing, the current rate for manuscripts is $35. You can e-file at the US Copyright Office site. (There are tutorials. To actually file, click on the icon with text saying "Electronic Copyright Office")

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