Quick Link: “Busting” Some Popular Copyright Myths

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“Busting” Some Popular Copyright Myths

Copyright law can be confusing for authors, especially when it comes to issues like when (and whether) to register copyright in a manuscript, and what to do if you use a pseudonym. While authors need to understand the basics of copyright, myths and disinformation abound (especially on the Internet).

Today, let’s take a look at some popular myths (and truths) about copyright in novels and other creative works:

Myth #1: You have to register copyright as soon as you finish your manuscript.

False. Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is not a legal requirement for copyright ownership. Copyright attaches to “qualifying works*” automatically at the time of their creation.

Copyright registration is intended to protect “published works” – so authors should make sure that their works are registered with the copyright office within 3 months after initial publication.

(*Short stories, novellas, novels, anthologies, poetry, and similar fiction and non-fiction works all generally qualify for copyright protection.)

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