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How can I copyright my eBook?

eBook copyright

Your eBook has intellectual property rights as soon as you write it. If you have produced something in a reproducible form then it is copyrighted, the challenge comes in establishing and proving originality, that is to say proving who produced the piece of work in question first.

In the UK, copyright protection is enforced by the Intellectual Property Office. Copyright is an automatic right and protects eBook authors for 70 years following death.

In the US you can file your eBook with the Copyright Office. The process involves filling in a form and paying a registration fee of $45.

It is important to note that the copyright law of each country will only protect eBook authors against copyright infringement in their area of jurisdiction (i.e. the country they apply to). There for, US registration will not protect you from copyright infringement in Europe for example.

Writing an eBook copyright notice

A copyright notice sets out the rights and wishes of an author of an eBook.

There is no legal requirement in the US or UK to include such a notice but is potentially beneficial to the author as it lets members of the public know that the work is protected under copyright laws. An eBook copyright notice also displays other useful information such as the year of publication.

The copyright notice should contain the following four elements:

  • Copyright – written as well as the symbol below
  • The copyright symbol “©”
  • Year of first publication
  • Name of the copyright owner

An example would be in this format: Copyright ©2010 Bob Smith.

Notices are generally placed after the front cover of eBooks.

eBook copyright laws and action

If an eBook author believes his or her work has been infringed or stolen then legal action can be taken against the accused infringer under copyright law.