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Old 1st March 2008, 07:09 AM   #1

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Default Copywriting Ebooks?

I'm a bit new to all of this and I am currently working on an ebook of which I intend to market and sell. I need some help understanding whether or not I need to copywrite the title of the ebook or do I need to copywrite the entire book? I feel its a very clever name and I don't want people trying to steal my work after its done. It doesn't appear that anyone has used it in the past. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 1st March 2008, 07:43 AM   #2
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Well, actually, it sounds like you're talking about "copyRIGHTing" your ebook, not "copyWRITing" it. One deals with your rights as the author, the other deals with writing the text (which I think is what you're in the process of doing right now).

You would copyright the entire ebook. Just as you don't want anyone taking your title, you also don't want other person stealing your content. If you're in the U.S., you can to go the Library of Congress website for all the information about filings and fees, etc. I think the rate is currently $45 per filing. http://www.copyright.gov

Here's something few people realize. If someone steals your ebook (or part of the content or title), you cannot file a law suit against them unless you have previously filed your work with the copyright office. Yes, you hold an immediate copyright as soon as you finish the work, but it will do you no good if you ever have to take legal action unless that work was on file prior to others using your work without permission.

Lastly, it takes a LONG time in the U.S. go receive your copyright certificate. Typical times are now at 6 months.

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Old 1st March 2008, 11:39 AM   #3
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Thanks Karon,

I had no idea that you had to actually file. I am sure a lot of other people are as uninformed as I am. I learn a lot on this forum.

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Old 2nd March 2008, 12:22 AM   #4
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You cannot copyright a title in the USA.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wwp (Copyright Office Basics):
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:
...Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
(emphasis added by me)

If you really feel your title is worthy of protection (and you're sure -- and can prove -- neither it, nor anything "confusingly similar" to it have been used before) you could pursue trademark protection for the title. That is considerably more expensive, difficult and time-consuming than copyright protection.

As Karon pointed out, you have copyright to the text of your work the moment you write it. This will allow you to prevent others from using your text and your presentation of that text and claiming it as their own.

As Karon further says, though, your rights to sue infringers for monetary damage are limited until you register. And they are permanently limited if you register after an infringement has already taken place, so it's to your advantage to register earlier rather than later:
If registration is made within 3 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.
Source: further quote from Copyright Office Basics page originally quoted above.

The US Copyright Office has a great deal of rather clearly written and (for a government agency) relatively easy to understand information. You might want to take a look at what they've got.

If you still have questions or need assistance, you should seek the advice of a copyright attorney. Your peace of mind and making sure you've dotted your "i's" and crossed your "t's" will be well worth the price.


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Old 3rd March 2008, 08:44 AM   #5
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Well.....here's my 2 cents.

I've written 3 e-books and have been selling them for the past 4+ years. They all have the (c) on them. When you do that in Microsoft Word it automatically forms the copyright symbol.

I once read, that if you poay to have something copyrighted and someone kinda steals something from it.....you're going to spend a lot of money in attroney fees to try and PROVE that the rascal stole some of your material IF.........and I say IF, you can tie them down or actually find them.

And IF you can find them, and IF you can prove they broke your copyrights, then it depends on IF they have enough money to pay what you are suing them for. One things for sure..........................you will pay ALL of the attorney's fees - win or lose!!

Just my 2 cents................

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Old 4th March 2008, 07:16 AM   #6

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I appreciate all of the honest advice. It appears that ebooks can be a decent way to make some extra money online as long as you don't take it too seriously. I'm no professional author by all means but I do have some honest information people could benefit from and figured an ebook would be a good way to capatilize on it. Thank again!

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Old 5th March 2008, 12:31 PM   #7

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I agree 100% a friend of my started an eBook business and it has been slow at first, but he is starting to see an increase in sales after his 4th month.

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Old 7th March 2008, 09:08 AM   #8
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Theoretically, as soon as you set pen to paper, you're writing copy-righted material. But you should by all means register your ebooks as suggested.

That said, I don't believe that titles are copyright-able. Only the text. I've heard this from a number of mentor-level copywriters.

Here's a suggestion: there is a way you can use Adobe Acrobat to create your finished ebook - that allows you to make it non-copy-able. To edit your ebook in any way, the prospective editor must provide a password. I've seen several ebooks done this way, and it apparently is quite effective - in the majority of instances, of course. If someone is determined to steal your words, they're going to steal them.

Just like a burglar breaking into your house.

Adobe just makes it not at all easy.


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Old 8th March 2008, 08:17 AM   #9
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My two cents as a long-time professional writer, past publisher of paper books, current publisher of ebooks...

Contrary to what someone said earlier, I think you can litigate for copyright infringements even if you weren't registered at time of infringement... but only after you've registered. (Think about this a minute and you'll realize why it makes sense... Books can't be copyrighted until you have a real copy (actually two copies) to send the library of congress...so if you can't litigate for copyright infringements prior to the registration, paper books would all have a 1-2 year window when it'd be okay to plagarize.... Really? No!

FYI, it isn't that hard to register... (I've registered three dozen paper books.) But the processing time takes forever....

FWIW, I don't register my ebooks...

Finally, yes, I have found people stealing the content. E.g., Google on the phrase "acme explosives llc" (use the quotes) and you'll find one slimeball who's posted a chunk of my llc formation ebook on his blog...

Steve Nelson, Publisher, www dot llcsexplained dot com and www dot fasteasyincorporationkits dot com.
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Old 16th May 2008, 03:39 PM   #10
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I seen ebookers allow people certain rights through their works through agreements - saves fighting down the road. I believe your ebook will sell through advertising and not word of mouth, initially! So i wouldn't worry too much unless someone really 'stole' and 'ran' against you!! Most of the polished ebookers promoters aren't going to chance their campaigns, businesses that way. Cannot think of too many serious problems online with stealing....rewrite, yes, definitely! But, not too widely promoted afterwords.

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Last edited by viper_one; 16th May 2008 at 03:41 PM. Reason: add smilies
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