Get Your Rights in Writing

Thanks to the rise of self publishing, everyday folks can become the next John Grisham. But unlike the literary legends that line our bookshelves, most novice writers don’t have big publishing houses backing their endevors, which means it’s up to the author to take care of all the fine print. A big part of that is making sure your work is protected so that you retain creative control and don’t lose out on any potential profits made from your hard work.

In our three-part series, we’ll take a closer look at what aspiring writers need to know about copyrights, trademarks, and ISBN Numbers and why they are so important. First up: copyrights. Read more

Copyright Now or Pay for it Later
The biggest fear most writers have is someone coming along and stealing their work. Enter the copyright. A copyright legally protects the content in newspapers, articles, books, music, plays, poetry, and movies — among many other things. But what you may not know is that unlike patents and trademarks, a copyright exists automatically upon the creation of the work. That’s right. Once you’ve penned your piece, you don’t have to register it. The law states that your copyright originates automatically and immediately when the work is created (but you should still use the © symbol to remind everyone). Copyright protection lasts for the life of the author, plus 50 years and needs no renewal. So, if that’s the case you’re probably asking, “Why do people get so worked up over copyright registration?”

While the law clearly provides protection for your copyrighted work even if you don’t register it with the copyright office, there are a handful of reasons why it is beneficial to register your work:

  1. It gives you a stronger argument in a copyright infringement case. With a clear record of proof of your publishing/registration date, it will help to ensure your work is protected, and give you a better chance at winning.
  2. It makes you work appear more professional.
  3. It gives you peace of mind to know that you have legally protected your work, and can also freely sell or distribute it.
  4. The law states that there is a mandatory deposit requirement when you publish a work. You are supposed to submit a copy of the published work within 3 months of completion. By registering your work, you can do all of this together.

To learn more about the ins and outs of copyright registration, including fees, infringement and more, visit the U.S. Library of Congress Copyright Office at and join us next week when we tackle trademarks.

Sarah Hovis

Best RM Books on Amazon

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at


  1. Mrs. Jetson says

    Awesome article – thanks for giving us writers the lowdown 🙂

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