As an Author Should You Get Copyrights?
You Wrote the Book, Now What?
When I finished writing and receiving the illustrations for my children's best selling picture book Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss I thought I was done except for formatting.
Formatting was going to be easy since I was hiring someone else to do the work for me. I decided to quickly flip through a children's book at Barnes and Noble to see if I had missed anything.
It's then I realized I had missed a crucial part. The copyright claim.
It's in every single published book and somehow I had forgotten it.
I hadn't even done any research on the matter to see if I needed to claim them online through a specific agency, or could write them myself and have my formatter deal with later.
To make sure I did everything correctly I decided to read up quickly on the matter as I needed to send my book off for formatting ASAP!
What Are Copyrights?
If you read this far and aren't sure what I'm talking about let me make it more clear.
When you flip through the first 1 or 2 pages in a book you will find a page where the text is formatted lower down. The text will have a date, author name, publisher, ISBN, and anything else the publisher or author see fit to add.
This text is the copyright claim for the book. A copyright claim is stating that the text found in the book legally belongs to the individuals who wrote and published the book. Any use of material without the permission of the people who own the claim is considered illegal and a form of legal action could be taken against the person who tried to steal/use them.
Not only are these found in print or publishing, but copyrights also expand as far as film, live performances, and music.
So the main question everyone is asking... Do you need to get copyrights for your work?
Do You Need to Purchase Copyright Claim on Your Writing?
Here is a the quick and simple answer. No.
No, you do not need to spend money to have your writing copyright claimed. Why you might ask? Technically, since you wrote the piece of work, this is a form of copyrights and any use of of your work without your permission is illegal.
But should you purchase copyright claims? I say yes!
In this day in age, with the internet so accessible to everyone, there is a more likely chance someone could take your work and use it for their own. It is easier to claim your work with physical evidence versus word of mouth. Nothing is worse than someone stealing your work and them getting all the credit for it!
So yes, go spend a few extra minutes and a couple of 20's filling out the form with your writing attached. I promise it will be worth it.
Where Do You Get Your Copyright Claim?
Go to www.copyright.gov to fill out your form and claim your written work.
Since it's a government ran site, the website is outdated and not the best to navigate.
On the main page there will be a blue button on the left hand side of the screen. Click this to get to the main page. If you are a new user fill out a user name and password to create your account. From there, it only takes a few minutes to upload your work along with your name, date of birth, and address.
I highly suggest getting an editor or proofreader before submitting your work to ensure everything is written/spelled correctly before uploading. Once you submit you cannot take back your claim.
For my children's story, Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss, it cost $60 to purchase the copyrights. It took several weeks to receive in the mail since it is government based.
When I finally did get the story formatted all my formatter had to do was add my name and the year some prewritten template to show it had been copyright claimed.
Pretty simple and easy if you tell me!
Like I mentioned before no you do not need to spend money to get your copyright as your work is your own! But I highly suggest it in case someone does try to steal your work.
I've had multiple people ask when applying to podcasts, working with other creatives, and uploading to sell on other sites if the work is my own. I can confidently say yes because I have the physical paperwork sitting in my room stating so.
Tell me in the comments below if you get copyrights to your work or not. I am very curious!