Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Aspiring Authors - Part 4 - Copyright

The last question from my young friend: 4) anything dealing with copyrighting 

As long as you add "Copyright 2016 by Your Name Here" you are covered.  However, you can also apply for a copyright from the federal copyright office for a minimal fee. The difference is that if anyone were to plagiarize or steal your ideas/stories with the unregistered copyright, you could only sue for damages from profits they make on the story. The registered copyright gives you the right to sue for damages in addition to profits. (i.e., if they don't make any money stealing your work, you get nothing under scenario 1. In scenario 2, you can collect even if they don't profit from stealing your work).

I have read articles that say traditional publishers view you as amateurish if you apply for a copyright on your own and then submit to them.  As an independent, the option is yours.

If you have something you'd like to see answered, feel free to drop me a line!


  1. Copyright doesn't protect ideas for stories, only the words you use to express those ideas. Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as your own. While it's unethical, it's generally not illegal. Most countries don't have an official registry of copyrights - the USA is unusual in this respect.

    I agree that publishers will see you as amateurish if you register your copyright before submitting to them. They interpret it as meaning that you don't trust them not to steal the work - hardly the best start to what you want to be a long-term professional relationship.

    1. Interesting, and shows my ignorance. I didn't realize other countries didn't protect artist content the way we do over here.