As soon as you put pen to paper or type your first words, your book is copyrighted. A copyright is protection for original works of authorship, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright protects literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, even those that are unpublished. If you wish to register your copyright, do so through the U.S. Copyright Office.
You may use the copyright symbol, the letter "c" in a circle, or the word "copyright" to signify your work is original. Follow the copyright with the year in which it was written and your name. You do not need to have registered your copyright to use this identification.
Go to copyright.gov. Read the tutorials on registering a copyright.
Download application Form TX to apply for a registered copyright for your book. Form TX covers novels, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, textbooks, directories, reference books, catalogs, and advertising copy. If your book is a periodical or serial, then use Form SE.
Fill out the application electronically, and submit the application online with the required fee.
Upload an electronic copy of your work (see the copyright.gov site for acceptable file formats), or click the "Send by Mail" link to download the shipping form to send with a hard copy of your book.
- If you wrote something as part of your employment, it may be a "work for hire," which means it is most likely the property of your employer. You have no rights to the material unless the employer granted them to you.
- You cannot copyright a book's title or an idea. Your copyright protects the actual words and how you wrote them.
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