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22.09.2011 06:23    Comments: 0    Categories: Publishing  Copyright      Tags: copyright protection  copyright registration  copyright laws  

How you protect your work is an important consideration as you look to become a published author. Below are some terms and concepts you will want to know. This list should not to be construed as a comprehensive guide. If you have questions, it is always recommended that you seek legal counsel.


Copyright to your work is established at the very moment you create it; or when it takes the form of a manuscript. No other official registration or act is required for an author to secure the copyright to his work.

Copyright protection vs. copyright registration

Copyright protection again is secured by the author upon publication or creation of the work. Copyright registration, which can be secured through an indie book publisher, is officially secured when your work is registered with the U.S. government. Copyright registration with the government makes it possible for an author to sue for damages if your work is used without permission.

Protection Against Libel

Truth is always the best defense in a case of libel - but defending yourself in court can be time consuming and very expensive; so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure here. If your book is based on true events, it may be best to change factors including the identity of the characters in the story, the location of the where the story takes place, even use a pen name to distance yourself from the real and actual events.


Expressing an opinion isn't libelous, but making a statement about someone that is accusatory could create a problem. Even couching an accusatory statement with "in my opinion" won't likely be enough to shield you from trouble.


Among the statements that can be considered libelous:

  1. accusing someone falsely of committing, being indicted for or charged with, or convicted of a crime
  2. identifying someone as the carrier of a terrible or loathsome disease
  3. discrediting or disqualifying an organization or person by falsely charging them with a claim
  4. falsely accusing someone of being impotent


As with copyright laws, libel statutes are broad and not always clear, so it may be best to consult counsel if you are unsure if your work may be libelous.

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