E-Publishing opens the doors for writers from all around the world to get their stories into the hands of readers–I love helping them do this with my online course, Publish and Sell Your E-Books, which is taught at 3000+ community colleges around the world.
A number of students have asked additional questions about copyright, so I thought I’d share them here in my blog.
1) Do I need to reapply for copyright if I modify the text, even slightly? The beauty of self-publishing is that I can tweak the manuscript if need be, right?
Answer: Don’t register your copyright until the book is completely finished editing. In the U.S. you submit a copy of the manuscript for registration, so in a copyright infringement case they would compare the illegal copy with what you’ve submitted. If it’s different, you could have problems defending your copyright in a court case.
2) I plan to apply for copyright registration electronically, of course, but does that cover both e-book and POD?
Answer: Copyright registration covers the actual text itself, not the format. You can create an e-book, POD, or even audio book without re-registering, as long as the text is the same. This is true no matter where in the world you live.
3) How long does it usually take once you have sent all the needed documents for copyright registration? I would like to wait so I can add that to my title page.
Answer: You don’t need to register copyright in order to put a copyright notice in your book, whether it’s in POD or e-book format. Your book has copyright protection the minute you put it in a tangible form, such as print or audio recording. Registration can take place at any time within the first 5 years after publication in the U.S. and still expect to get damages in a copyright infringement case. See: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html
If you have questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments area!