Copy . . . right?

In my blog and writing community travels, I’ve stumbled across some questions and concerns new writers have re copyright.

Given I’m about to [hopefully] finish “Forever Poi”, I thought a little post on the topic might not be a bad or boring thing.

Just for the record—and I’m no lawyer (though I sometimes kind of wish I’d pursued law as a profession)—copyright per Free Dictionary is “the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work”.

If you Google the word you’ll come across scores of sites that offer information and guidance. Read a few to get a grasp of the intricacies.

Basically, though, as e-book authors we want to ensure that we’re protected against infringement or unauthorized use of our original books (like our hard-copy counterparts).

Good news: a finished e-book is actually automatically copyright-protected.  Per law, any work crafted today is deemed to be copyrighted once it’s created.  Maybe not so good news: it’s not going to help you if someone “borrows” your e-book concept, but it will if said [dishonest] someone uses your characters and/or other specific items.

Some sites will recommend registering your copyright and storing your e-book with the U.S. Copyright Office.  I’ve never done this, and I wouldn’t advise anyone not to—it’s a personal decision—but I’ve read that while there are some benefits to taking this route, it’s far from “the” route.  Check out the U.S. Copyright Office’s website for more info.

If you’re looking to copyright your e-book, you can find samples of simple copyright pages.  They’re all fairly similar, but I use a short and sweet one that Smashwords offers—here’s a model:

*Title*

 Published by [Name] at Smashwords

Copyright © 2018 (Name in brackets)

Smashwords Edition

This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America.  Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.

This eBook is licensed solely for your personal pleasure.  This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this eBook with someone, please purchase a copy for every reader.  If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased solely for your use, please return it to your favorite retailer and purchase your own personal copy.  Thank you for respecting the author’s time and effort in completing this work of fiction.

Disclaimer:  The persons, places, things, and otherwise animate or inanimate objects mentioned in this work of fiction are creations of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to anything or anyone, living or dead, in this novel is absolutely and unequivocally unintentional.

Hopefully, this helps clarify the sometimes confusing world of copyright a wee bit.

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