Jeanne: Registering a Copyright

I just registered the copyright for my second book, The Demon’s in the Details, and I have a few thoughts to share, along with a public service announcement.

  1. You can tell this is a government site, because you have to type the same info over and over.
  2. Even though you have use a separate ISBN for paperbacks versus ebooks, there is only one spot to enter an ISBN.
  3. At the end, you have to choose between uploading an electronic file and sending in a hard copy. I’ve read numerous discussions on various self-published author boards about which is appropriate if your book is available both as a paperback and an ebook. I opted for an electronic upload rather than paying postage to mail in a physical book.
  4. Once you register a copyright, it can take months to get your Certificate of Registration.. My certificate for The Demon Always Wins took about four months, but one of my chaptermates at my RWA chapter said her most recent certificate took fourteen months to show up.
  5. Given the recent Supreme Court decision that you must have that certificate in order to file suit against a copyright infringement (like, say, any of the million pirate sites out there), it’s probably a good idea to do it sooner rather than later.

And here’s my public service announcement:

There’s a spot where you can choose to register one book by one author for $35. The regular price is $55. This option is not readily apparent unless you know where to look:

Copyright page

You’re welcome.

 

7 thoughts on “Jeanne: Registering a Copyright

  1. I think it took me about five months to get the copyright for my freebie short story giveaway. And I think I paid $55. So I’m going to have to check that out when I copyright my book. But I completely agree with you on making sure you have that certificate, and I would add that you should scan it and save it digitally, as well as saving the hardcopy someplace safe.

  2. I’ve only registered one copyright, and that was a couple of years ago. But at the time, you paid the government only $35 for the electronic upload, unless you had additional material in the file—an excerpt from another release, primarily. Then it was $55, plus an extra piece of paper.

    I found the people there to be incredibly prompt and helpful. It was pretty amazing, after what one reads about staffing cutbacks at the federal level. I got replies within 24 hours.

    One other thing, about which I could totally be wrong about: at the time I registered, if you had a paper copy, you were *required* to submit a paper copy. Sounds like that might have changed? but it looks like you went the “one work by one author” route. I think I went with the “standard application.” So things might be different there.

    One thing about reading the boards about this stuff: people have a lot of different experiences!

    • There was a whole discussion about paperbacks and submitting paper copies, but I registered the ISBN for my ebook and submitting an electronic file.I know it’s possible for people to take paperbacks and scan them in to pirate your book, I’m much more concerned with being able to defend against electronic piracy.

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