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Copyright registration FAQs

by Vervante •

You did it! You’ve successfully written and published that book you’ve always dreamed of. Now comes the next big issue, how to be sure that your work is protected by copyright.

While Vervante does not provide copyright registration services directly, we’ve gathered the following information from the website of the United States Copyright Office to help you gain a better understanding of what copyright is and how it can protect your book.

What is copyright? Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

What does copyright protect? Copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

Do I have to register with the U.S. Copyright Office to be protected? No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

How do I register for a copyright? The U.S. Copyright Office website, www.copyright.gov., has an easy online application process. Complete the form provided on the website, pay the application fee and place an order in your Vervante account for a copy of the book to be sent to the copyright office.

How long does the copyright application process take? If you apply for copyright registration online, you will receive an email confirmation stating that your application has been received, then it takes approximately 3-5 months for processing and to receive your certificate.

How much does it cost? The application fee is $35 (as of March 2014).

How soon can I publish my book after applying for a copyright? As soon as you want. Once you have submitted the application and a copy of your book, you do not need to wait for the copyright certificate to proceed with promoting and publishing your book. You are free to log into your Vervante author account to have your book printed and your orders shipped.

How long does a copyright last? As a general rule copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.

I plan on selling and distributing my book in countries outside the United States. Is my copyright good in other countries?  The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

Bottom line? Your book is the result of your hard labor and intellectual brilliance. Taking the step to protect your work, once you’ve written and published, is quick, easy and will provide peace of mind. For more information or to register your book, go to www.copyright.gov.