Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection, which gives the owner of an original creative work, such as a book, play, or piece of music, the right to prevent others from reproducing or copying a substantial part of their work.
A book, or an idea for a book, is protected by copyright laws as soon as it is "fixed in a material form." In other words, as soon as you have typed up the first draft of your manuscript, it is protected by copyright, and you do not need to officially register your book for copyright protection. In many countries, such as the UK and Australia, there is no national copyright registry.
If you live in Canada or USA you may optionally decide to enroll your book with your national copyright registry. Here is what each of the above offices have to say about the benefits of copyright registration:
"First, if you have to enforce your copyright in a lawsuit against an alleged infringer, the copyright registration may be used as evidence against the infringing party that pleads "innocent infringement." An "innocent infringer" can argue in court that they were unaware of any copyrights in the infringed work due to the lack of registration. The courts will generally award lesser penalties if indeed the infringer is found to be an "innocent infringer."
Second, a registration can be produced in the court as evidence to support that copyright exists and that the registrant is the owner of the work."
"Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within five years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works."
If you would like your book registered for copyright, you may either register the book yourself through the following links, or Tellwell can do this on your behalf. For current fees, please reach out to email@example.com.
- Click here to register with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- Click here to register with the US Copyright Office
- Note, in the US if your book is already published, you will need to mail two copies of the "best edition" of your book (hardcover, or paperback if you are not publishing in hardcover) to the copyright office.
Registering your book with either the Canadian or US will extend registered protection to all countries that have signed the Berne Convention until at least 50 years after the death of the author.
Related article: How does copyright work?