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Writing and Publishing

How to Register Your Copyright

Registering a copyright for a book is the best practice for a career author and helps protect our intellectual property, a key asset for many authors. Registering our copyright provides a stronger legal footing if anyone ever disputes ownership or authorship of our work. Additionally, a registered copyright is essential in the event of a lawsuit.

(Though it’s possible to register a copyright for blog posts, other short works, and even unpublished content, doing so is expensive and cumbersome to manage.)

Beyond that, in the United States, the copyright lasts for seventy years after the death of the author, so registering our copyright helps our heirs to better earn money from our intellectual property (our writing) after we’re gone.

Registering your copyright is not hard, but it might look foreboding, especially the first time. In the United States, go to www.copyright.gov. Though most of the application process is straightforward, beware that a couple of areas could trip you up. Therefore, I strongly recommend studying Kathryn Goldman’s excellent webinar at https://creativelawcenter.com/copyright-application/

Though registering the copyright for my first book took a couple of hours, I can now complete registration in about fifteen minutes. This small investment will protect my book, both during my lifetime and for my heirs.

(This discussion about copyright and registration relates to the United States. Other countries have different copyright laws and registration processes.)

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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