Don't forget to REGISTER YOUR BOOK with the U.S. Copyright Office - Page 2


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Thread: Don't forget to REGISTER YOUR BOOK with the U.S. Copyright Office

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    The problem with protecting your copyright is the expense of bringing an action and the difficulty of enforcing a judgement. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars for even a fairly basic copyright infringement suit, and even if you win you will likely have trouble collecting any damages because the person who stole your work is probably anonymous, living in a foreign country, or so poor there's no chance to collect.

    I've had an entire book stolen, given a new cover and author name, and republished. I found out about it because the thief had stolen a bunch of other authors' work as well, and readers noticed and started digging. It took me one e-mail to Amazon to get the stolen material removed from their site. If they hadn't cooperated, I really wouldn't have been able to justify the expense of a lawsuit.

    And registering copyright really only helps once you get to the lawsuit stage. So... I don't bother registering copyright. I HAVE copyright, because I live and publish in countries that are signatories to the Bern Convention (which stipulates that copyright attaches as soon as the work is written down). But I don't register it.
    The benefit of registering, for US self-published authors, isn't litigation or damages. If someone actually violates your copyright, theyr'e likely overseas and you'd have no chance of getting them into court, much less collecting on a judgment -- this is true.

    The benefit comes from being able to prove, conclusively and with a government form, your copyright.

    Here's a scenario. That foreign actor puts your book up for sale a different cover and title, you find out, you complain to Amazon. He reasserts that it's his. Amazon's easiest, simplest solution to this problem is to take down both books, and maybe both accounts.

    Scenario #2. You piss off another author or just some rando on the internet. They file a DMCA takedown on your books. You are now in a position of having to prove to Amazon that you own the copyright.

    US copyright registration is the clearest, easiest, most-conclusive proof in both those situations, giving the store the good-faith assurance they need in order to come down on your side, rather than dumping everything as the easier option.

    Remember, no store is obligated to sell your book. If they think there's liability in it from a mishandled DMCA report, if they have any doubt, the safest thing for them to avoid a future judgment ON THEM is to get rid of the problem.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by J.A. Sutherland View Post
    The benefit of registering, for US self-published authors, isn't litigation or damages. If someone actually violates your copyright, theyr'e likely overseas and you'd have no chance of getting them into court, much less collecting on a judgment -- this is true.

    The benefit comes from being able to prove, conclusively and with a government form, your copyright.

    Here's a scenario. That foreign actor puts your book up for sale a different cover and title, you find out, you complain to Amazon. He reasserts that it's his. Amazon's easiest, simplest solution to this problem is to take down both books, and maybe both accounts.

    Scenario #2. You piss off another author or just some rando on the internet. They file a DMCA takedown on your books. You are now in a position of having to prove to Amazon that you own the copyright.

    US copyright registration is the clearest, easiest, most-conclusive proof in both those situations, giving the store the good-faith assurance they need in order to come down on your side, rather than dumping everything as the easier option.

    Remember, no store is obligated to sell your book. If they think there's liability in it from a mishandled DMCA report, if they have any doubt, the safest thing for them to avoid a future judgment ON THEM is to get rid of the problem.
    Well, it provides prima facie evidence, not conclusive evidence. And I think in the case of Amazon, they'd be most likely to look at who'd uploaded the book first, and take it at that?

    I'm not telling other people whether they should register their copyright or not. But in a world where I see self-publishers unwilling to pay for editing or cover design? I think copyright registration costs should be significantly lower than the other items on a list of possible expenses.

  3. #13
    Maybe this will help. The link and a couple of the frequently asked questions that have been discussed on this thread.

    https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/f...l.html#poorman

    Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?

    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.

    I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?

    The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

  4. #14
    I used to copyright all my books, but the last few I have not bothered with (because I'm a lazy drunk who is too busy playing video games all day.)
    But Mikey is right: if you can afford it ($35 per book) then it really is a good way to protect your rights.
    But if it goes to lawsuit, there are other ways to do it; original upload date on Amazon, proof copies, and even your cloud account (if it uses versioning) can all be evidence of copyright.

    But BV is also right that unless JJ Abrams rips off your book, it will not be likely to be worth it to fight in court. Just get them banned on Amazon.


    But if you wanna be super-safe, then pay for the formal copyright. $35+S&H.

  5. #15
    Bayview,
    You made an interesting point about copyright being most useful if you litigate. I totally agree with your statement about the cost of litigation. An expensive lawsuit is probably not worth the cost for many small time authors (like me). However, I still think doing copyright registration (which is relatively cheap and easy if done in the US - I have no idea about how it is done in other countries) is worthwhile. For example, I've read more than once about the situation where someone challenges your own book on Amazon and Amazon removes that book temporarily from their site while they ask the author to validate ownership. In that situation, Amazon will want to see proof that the book is rightfully yours. One easy way to satisfy that request is to give Amazon a copy of your copyright registration. So even if you never use the copyright registration for litigation, it can still be helpful. Just my 2 cents.
    Mikeyboy_esq
    Check out my books for authors including SMART MARKETING FOR INDIE AUTHORS and 14 STEPS TO SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK.
    Hidden Content

  6. #16
    You never know who may rip off your book.
    The Shape of Water was a complete & utter ripoff (tho they beat the rap in court somehow).
    So if someone rich steals your book, word for word, then a copyright will make it easier to sue them.

    I had a book that I believe was at least partially ripped off. Same opening scene, same moon-shattering event, just a different solution at the end. I woulda sued...except the movie never made any money (the star was one of the unknown Baldwins) so there was no point. I woulda been suing a debt-hole.

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