Friday, May 09, 2014

Copyright ...

Yesterday I registered my first book with the US Copyright Office.

My publishers have my book copyright protected but NOT copyright registered.  
So why bother to register it?

"If you choose not to register the copyright of your published book with the U.S. Copyright Office or the Copyright Office in your country, you may be limited in the damages that could be awarded in court if there is a copyright violation." (SirenBookStrand).

Copyright has two main purposes, namely the protection of the author’s right to obtain commercial benefit from valuable work, and more recently the protection of the author’s general right to control how a work is used.

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country.  If you want to check if your country is included use this link.  International Copyright Relations.

In Australia, copyright law is set out in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). This is federal legislation, and applies throughout Australia. The Commonwealth Attorney-General administers Australian copyright law. 
Although the Copyright Act dates from 1968, it sets out how copyright applies for material created both before and after that date. The Copyright Act has been regularly amended since 1968, to bring it up to date with evolving technologies and concerns. 

Copyright protection is free and automatic from the time a work is first written down or recorded in some way. You do not apply for copyright in Australia, and there is no system of registration here. Nor are there any forms to fill in, or fees to be paid. 

You do not need to publish your work, put a copyright notice on it, or do anything else before your work is covered by copyright in Australia.

So why did I bother to register my work if I live and am an Aussie citizen?  Mainly for peace of mind.  It was not expensive - $35, it means I am covered in most countries of the world.  It is easier to prove my case should my work be violated.

It was easy to do and there is the option to create a template so additional works can be entered easily.

Thanks to Wiki for the following information:

If your country is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works—and that covers most countries in the world—then your work is protected from the moment you create it in a format that is "perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."[2]
  • That means that you automatically own the copyright to any original work you create—as long as you commit it to readable form.
  • For the current list of countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention, visit the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at
  • WIPO does not offer a registration service for copyright, but it does acknowledge that many countries have national registration systems in place and that for some countries, this serves as prima facie evidence in a court of law as to copyright ownership.[3]
  • Note that if you are a US citizen, you will need to officially register with the U.S. Copyright Office before you are able to make a claim in a US court (even if you already own a right on your work). Registration may also entitle you to statutory damages in a US legal system.
  • Know your own country's copyright legislation. Registering your copyright in your own country is generally a straightforward process, and you can usually be done online. Here are some links to get you started:
    • United States of America: Responsibility for the administrative aspects of copyright law rests with the United States Copyright Office, whose website can be found at: You can also register your work online by creating an account and logging into the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) at
    • Canada: Canadian copyright law can be found in The Copyright Law of Canada[7]and relevant court decisions. You can register your copyright at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, which can be found at:
    • UK: British copyright law can be found in The Copyright Act 1956, The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, and relevant case law interpretations. Further information about copyright in the UK can be found at the Intellectual Property Office, at: There is no official registration system in place for copyrighting works. It is considered an "automatic right."[8]
      • You can send a copy of any published work to the British Library within one month of publication so that they can include it as part of their records of all published works. Find out more about the British Library and copyright here:
    • Australia: Australian copyright law can be found in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth),[9]along with various court decisions that have interpreted copyright over the years. The Australian Copyright Council is a good resource,[10] while the relevant government site is at:
      • Like the UK, copyright is automatic: there is no system in place for "official" registration. You can, however, send a copy of your book to the National Library of Australia.[11] Check State legislation as well, as you may need to make a legal deposit to a relevant State library.
    • New Zealand: New Zealand copyright law can be found in the Copyright Act 1994,[12] and good copyright information can be found from the Copyright Council of New Zealand.[13] According to the Copyright Council, no registration is necessary, or even possible, nor is any other formality required for securing copyright protection.[14]
      • You can send a copy of every new published work to the National Library of New Zealand.[15] to function as a "legal deposit," should you need formal proof of the date of your copyright.

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