How to Write a Copyright Page

By Joe Runge, Esq.

How to Write a Copyright Page

By Joe Runge, Esq.

If you are self-publishing a book, it's a good idea to include a copyright page, even though you're technically not legally required to do so to assert copyright ownership.

illustration of copyright filing

What Is a Copyright Page?

A copyright page traditionally contained legally-required details in a specified format. That practice fell out of favor when changes in the law removed the formal requirement of notice in order to assert copyrights.

The change was good news for authors. It removed formal objections that possible infringers could make about the adequacy of notice. As a self-published author, you no longer needed to worry about covering all your bases.

So what does a copyright page look like in the 21st century? Something like this:

"© [your legal name] 2020."

Copyright Naming Opportunities

While you can simply have the © symbol, a name, and a year, you are allowed to use your copyright notice to be intentional about what your book means to you.

For example, is it a self-help book that marks the start of your life-coaching business? Why not assign the copyright to LLC? Your copyright page transitions from simply providing notice of authorship to presenting your book as the cornerstone of a business empire—built on a portfolio of valuable intellectual property.

Are your ideas too revolutionary to be associated with your good name? Consider a pseudonym. U.S. copyright law allows for authors to copyright stories under a name that isn't their own. You just have to register the pseudonym with the copyright office.

Whatever approach you chose, the essential function of a copyright page—giving notice that the expression of your ideas is proprietary—remains the same. Be sure to put the world on notice if you want to maintain control over your work.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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