Today, AuthorHouse would like to talk about something that’s not exactly near and dear to most self-publishing authors’ hearts: copyrights. After all, this isn’t character development, story structure, or even book signing tips; this is the legal stuff, the information you hope you never need to know.
How do you copyright your book? Do you publish before you copyright your book, or after? Is it necessary to apply for a copyright? “Why do I even care about this stuff? After all, I’m a writer, not an attorney.”
But copyright information is like your cholesterol count–you might not want to know it, but it’s probably better if you do. In that spirit, we’d like to present tips and facts about copyrights. Let’s begin with perhaps the most important:
When in doubt, talk to a lawyer. This is the tip that takes precedence over all the others. If you’re not sure, talk to an expert on copyright law. Should you ever end up in court, quoting a) this article, b) something you read in an interview, or c) a legal fact you heard from your uncle isn’t going to give you much traction. It’s okay to do some research on your own, but if you need definitive information make sure you talk to a lawyer, and make sure copyright law is his or her specialty.
You actually don’t have to register your work to be protected by copyright law. If your country is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (most countries are, the U.S. included) your work is protected as soon as you create it, as long as it’s in a form that’s “perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” In other words, if you typed it or wrote it down, it’s protected.
That’s all for today (no need to put you to sleep, after all!) But we’ll present more copyright info next week. Have a great weekend!