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Contents Quick Reference Page Layout Children's Book Family History School Yearbook Poetry Art Book Novel Self-Help Getting Started Editing Choosing a Book Size Choosing a Binding Style Software Image Formats Scanning Book Structure Front Matter Copyright Page Acknowledgments Dedication Table of Contents Foreword / Prologue Core Matter Margins and Bleeds Page Numbering Headers and Footers Font Sizes Font Choices Back Matter Index Registration ISBN Copyright LCCN Cover Design Make Your Own Book Cover Barcode BISAC Codes Cover Coatings Submitting a Book Submitting Files Marketing Creating a Strategy Promotional Ideas Things to Consider Miscellaneous Glossary Papers
How to Copyright a Book

A copyright grants the author of an original work the exclusive rights to its use, distribution, and reproduction for a set amount of time. Under the Berne Convention (which the United States joined in 1988), copyright is recognised by all 167 member countries of the United Nations. Copyright in these member countries is automatic upon the creation of the work. Registration with the copyright office is not required in order to be protected under copyright law.


Copyright infringement is the violation of copyright law. It is summed-up as “the act of reproducing, distributing, or making derivative works without permission”. Anyone discovered using work protected under copyright (without proper permission) is subject to litigation in civil court.

Should I Register

While registration of a copyright is not required, the calculation of damages for copyright infringement may be very different depending on whether you have registered a copyright or not. Registering a copyright for your book may entitle you to seek statutory damages, while not registering your copyright will limit a claim to actual damages.

Actual Damages
This is compensation for a loss of profits per copy. It is often difficult to determine the actual loss of profits from the illegal sale of a book.
Statutory Damages
Statutory damages are calculated differently than actual damages, and may result in a much greater settlement. The compensation is in the form of a lump sum between $750.00 and $30,000 which is awarded by courts in the United States. Statutory damages are only available to those who register a copyright for their book prior to infringement, or within 3 months of publication.

To register your copyright in the United States, contact the Copyright Office. The cost of the registration is $35.00. To register your copyright in Canada, contact the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The cost of the registration is $50.00.

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