Will Someone Steal My Writing? Copyright Basics for First-Time Authors

Copyright is...

Do you know what your copyright is?

One of the first questions I receive from first-time authors is How do I secure copyright for my book? Some authors seeking to work with me are extremely concerned that I or someone else may use or steal their work and passionately guard what they’ve written.

Copyright means simply a person’s right to copy. You as the author have that right and can give it to anyone or no one.

Copyright law states you have secured copyright the moment your work is created in tangible form.

Once you type your first word and save the document on your computer, you have copyright protection should anyone  try to take your content unjustly. Nothing else is required to secure copyright, although the Copyright Clearance Center also recommends registration. No authors I’ve worked with have chosen to pursue registration.

Instead of explaining what others have already said so well, if you have concerns or questions about copyright, I encourage you to read a fantastic summary of copyright basics along with some common myths at Writer Beware®. Additional information can be found at the Copyright Clearance Center or search “copyright” on the Internet.

Another perspective is the belief that no matter how hard you try, someone will pirate or steal what you’ve done, so the best thing to do is make the most of it. Read that perspective here. I don’t agree that it is inevitable, but I do like the recommendations Fred Gleeck makes about how to market your information better.

I’m writing a shorter post this week so you can take a few minutes to get up-to-speed about copyright via the links I’ve included in this post. Have a great week!

Question: What questions do you have about copyright? Leave your comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not constructive and specific to this conversation. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.