The law grants you copyright protection automatically upon the creation of your work. Your work need not be completed to be protected! You own the copyright on your work as you create it. No publication or registration or other action in the U.S. Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are, however, definite advantages to registration. Among these are the following: Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim. Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin. If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate. If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner. Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

The copyright notice, which appears on your published books should include the name of the copyright owner, the year of first publication, and the word copyright or the symbol ©. When the copyright notice appears, an infringer cannot claim that he or she did not realize the work was protected. You, as author and copyright owner, are wise to place a copyright notice on any unpublished copies of your work, or portions there of, that leave your control. The use of the copyright notice is your responsibility and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office. Your copyright lasts from the moment of your work’s creation (when it first appears in tangible form) until 70 years after your death. The copyright for a work prepared jointly by two or more authors lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death.