How to Copyright a Book Internationally

By Brenna Davis

Copyrighting your book can provide valuable protection against plagiarism, misuse and loss of profits. Many people don't realize that even if you don't register the copyright to your book, you already own the rights and can sue for copyright infringement if someone plagiarizes you. However, registering a copyright can provide you with added protection and evidence that you are the rightful owner of your book. The U.S.Copyright Office points out that there is no single procedure that will protect the rights to your work in all countries, and there is no single international copyright office. However, there are several steps you can take to protect the rights to an internationally published book.

Step 1

Add a copyright page to the inside of your book. Standard formatting includes the copyright symbol followed by your name, or the name of the copyright holder, and the year of first publication.

Step 2

Complete Form TX from the U.S. Copyright Office. This is the form used for first-time registration of literary copyrights. You can use the online filing system or file on paper for a higher fee. Send the completed form, along with two copies of your book, to the Library of Congress address listed on the form. Of course, if you are filing online you do not need to mail the form but must still mail the books.

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Step 3

Determine whether the country in which you seek copyright protection has signed an international copyright treaty. Countries that have signed one of these treaties offer copyright protection to people who own the rights to books and other works in their home country. The Berne Convention is a copyright treaty that has been signed by all but a handful of countries. The U.S. is a party as well as most of Europe, South America and Asia. If the country in which you are want protection is a party to the treaty, you automatically have protection. If the country is not a party to the treaty, you will have difficulty enforcing your copyrights. You may want to avoid publishing your material there.

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