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How do I Copyright an eBook?

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  • Written By: Bridget Wright
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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To copyright an eBook, you will need to register your work with the the copyright office or appropriate government agency in your country. You typically will need to pay a small fee and provide a digital copy of the eBook. Although an eBook is a digital file, it has the same rights as a printed book in many jurisdictions. An eBook typically can be protected the same way as a printed book, and it follows a similar registration and copyright process. A digital registration acts the same as a paper registration, making it legal and binding for the author.

If you want to copyright an eBook, first determine which government agency handles copyrights where you live. An Internet search often will provide the answer, or you might ask an employee at your local library — if he or she isn't sure, the library probably will have resources that will provide an answer. You might be able to copyright an eBook online at the government agency's website. If this is not possible, you can copyright an eBook by visiting the copyright office in person and filling out the necessary paperwork.

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The author of an eBook generally owns the copyright to his or her work from the moment the work is created. In many jurisdictions, any digital work that is in a fixed form is automatically copyrighted, no matter whether it has been registered with a government agency. Unless an author legally transfers his or her rights to another party, only the author owns the copyright and any associated benefits.

An eBook typically needs to be registered and copyright protected in order to have any legal recourse, if that need arises. By registering and filing for copyright protection, the digital document is made a matter of public record. Legal advantages exist for public record documents, including the pursuit of any necessary legal actions.

If a digital work for publication is copyrighted, its validity is proven by the copyright’s registration. As the author of the eBook, you typically are entitled to statutory damages and attorney fees if your copyright is violated. If the registration is not done within a certain time frame, however, you might be eligible only to sue for loss of profits and other financial damages as a result of the infringement.

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Phaedrus
Post 2

I have self-published several ebooks myself, and I have not sought an official copyright for any of them. The online company that processed my ebooks insisted that I include a line at the beginning of the book that asserted my copyright and publishing date. If anyone tries to download the version of an ebook published through that company without paying for it, the first page will qualify as a legal assertion of copyright.

I considered adding the DRM protection RocketLanch8 mentioned in his comment, but I didn't like some of the small print I read. It seemed a little too restrictive to me. I've never had a problem with people plagiarizing my work, so I didn't see the need to add something that might discourage sampling or research. If someone else wants to use DRM, I urge him or her to read all of the terms carefully. DRM may not be reversible.

RocketLanch8
Post 1

A recent development in the electronic book publishing world is called DRM, short for Digital Rights Management. If an author agrees to apply DRM to his or her ebook, then that title is protected electronically and legally from unauthorized uses and downloads. It's essentially a copyright for an ebook. Registration with an actual copyright office is not strictly required if the author applies DRM before the ebook is published.

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