How to Copyright a Workbook

By Brenna Davis

Copyright offers protection to intellectual property fixed in tangible items such as books. Most workbooks can be copyrighted, but registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is not necessary to obtain copyright protection for your workbook. You own the copyright to the workbook from the moment you create it, if you are the sole creator. However, you must register your copyright in order to sue someone for copyright infringement. You may register through the U.S. Copyright Office or use an online document service to complete registration on your behalf.

Step 1

Obtain permission to use anyone else's copyrighted material you are using in the workbook. For example, worksheets, explanations of material or word problems authored by someone else will require their permission for use. This is true even if the copyrights are not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Contact the person who owns the rights to the material and ask for his written permission to use it prior to publishing your workbook. When you register copyrights to the workbook, the copyright will cover only your original portions; portions created by others will still be owned by them.

Step 2

Complete Form TX for literary works from the U.S. Copyright Office. For cheaper, faster filing, register a username and password with the Electronic Copyright Office, then complete the application online. If you prefer, you can download a PDF of the document, complete it then mail it in. If you are using copyrighted material in your workbook, provide information about this material on the form.

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Step 3

Provide the U.S. Copyright Office with a copy of your workbook. If you are filing electronically, you may upload a copy of the workbook. Otherwise, print out a bar code delivery slip along with your application and mail a copy of your workbook. The U.S. Copyright Office will notify you when your rights have been registered.

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