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Copyright, it’s more simple than it sounds

Copyright. Wow, it sounds boring doesn’t it?

You’re probably asking yourself: Do I really need to know about this?

Well, if you’re about to publish your creative work, then there are few things you should know. But don’t worry, it’s not complicated, and not even that boring.

Book under lock and key

You may be aware that creative works have a copyright attached to them, which protects the original work from being copied or redistributed.

But does this apply to books? And if so, how can you protect YOUR creative work, and do you actually need to?

Firstly, what is copyright?

Copyright is simply:

  • A legal right, given to a form of creative material
  • It gives the creator of that material its exclusive rights
  • For a fixed period of time

It means that the creator owns the work.

Therefore no one else can use, copy or redistribute the material without the creator’s permission.

This means people are not allowed to redistributing your material in any format including, but not limited to:

  • Printing
  • Turning it into a television programme or film
  • It also covers publishing the work on the internet

How long do I own the copyright for?

The fixed period of time is usually the duration of the author’s life, plus an extended period of 50 to 100 years, depending on the jurisdiction. In the UK, this extended period is 70 years.

How do I register the copyright for my book?

The copyright is automatically given to written material as soon as it is created.

Ideas need to be in a tangible form; a written or digital copy. An idea alone is not protected.

There is no legal or formal process to register the copyright of your book. If you include the © symbol, your name and the year of publication on your book, this will make it known that you own the copyright to the material. However, whether you do this or not doesn’t affect the legal protection you have on your work – you are protected by copyright laws regardless.

What if I want to allow others to pay to use my work?

If you want to allow other to pay for a license to use your work, you can do this if you own the copyright, and then you will need to register with licensing body.

So, do I need to worry about copyright?

Lots of authors get hung up about the risk of their writing being copied. The fact is the chances of someone randomly stealing your life’s work is slim at the most. Hundreds of thousands of authors have published books without any issues. The chances are you’ll be fine.

Just know these three things:

  1. Your work has copyright protection as soon as you create it. It’s automatic, and you don’t need to do anything else about it.
  2. Don’t spend your time worrying that someone will copy your work.
  3. Make it known that you’re clued-up on copyright practices by including the copyright symbol © with your name and the date on the inside pages of your book. This is a sign to others that you know your rights and legal protection.

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We’re Peter and Caroline O’Connor. Creating beautiful book cover designs for authors all over the world is our passion. Every author should be able to benefit from a beautiful book cover design (not just the lucky few who get signed by a big publisher). We design, podcast, and coach authors full-time so we understand your struggles. Currently accepting new clients.