Copyright Basics, Part III: How does one secure a copyright and is it required for publication?

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One of the most confusing parts of publishing for many authors is copyright laws. To address the common copyright questions I am often asked, I will be writing a copyright basics series every week for the month of September. See the end of the post for links past posts you may missed, and be sure to check back each week for answers to more of your copyright questions.

How to Secure A Copyright

Copyright is automatically secured when a work is created and in a tangible form. No publication, registration, or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration.

Among these advantages are the following:

• Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

• Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.

• If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

• If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

• Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. If a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired.

An application for copyright registration requires a completed application form, a nonrefundable filing fee, and a nonreturnable deposit. The process can be done via a paper application or online registration.

Is copyright required for publication?

U.S. copyright law protects a literary work once it is placed in a tangible medium such as a manuscript, e-book, or even a word processor file. That means your work is protected by U.S. Copyright law when you write it.  Therefore, when you publish  without taking any extra steps or spending additional money, your book will have the copyright page with the copyright symbol, your name, and the publication year.

Nevertheless, many authors choose to secure their copyright officially with the Copyright Office by registering the book’s copyright.   You can file for this on your own or your publishing company can handle all the details involved.  Contact your self-publishing company for details about this service.

 To learn more about copyright law, visit copyright.gov.

Copyright Basics, Part I: What is copyright and who can claim copyright?

Copyright Basics, Part II: What works are and are not protected?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 9/19/14

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INSPIRED…BY WOUNDED WARRIORS

This phrase has become synonymous with our military personnel who have returned from “wars or rumors of wars” since 9/11. Many have suffered extreme physical injuries; others carry invisible scars of nightmare events that no one should have to experience.  And yet, when they come home again they inspire us!  They’d deny that, of course, but it’s true.  It’s the average, ordinary, writer who hears their story and begins tapping the keyboard, stringing words together and getting it published that shows them the truth of it.

Just this afternoon, my husband handed me an article he’d torn out of a newspaper insert. There is a small photo in the second column of a soldier holding a gray tabby cat—the feline who was “rescued” by the young soldier in the midst of an active battle zone—the stray cat whose insistent attention rescued the soldier from suicidal depression and gave him the courage to come home and help others.  Both soldier and cat are in the U.S. now.

You see, it’s all about connection.  The soldier’s faith and loyalty connection to the military mission and the positive things being accomplished—the good they were doing.  The internal, inspirational connection he saw in that one kitten expressed through the soldier as “the representations of the innocence” in that country.  Then there was the connection with other soldiers and organizations that brought both soldier and cat home because “it was the right thing to do.”  AND…the “cat experience connection” that was part of the readiness preparation for the soldier to accept a service dog, continuing the process of healing.  So many people heard this story—identified with it—connected to the hope.  And then came the writer who has used his skills and sent this story into millions of homes, creating more connections.

ARE YOU the next writer to hear an inspiring “wounded warrior” true-story and WRITE IT?  There are as many inspiring tales to tell as there are “sands on the ocean floor.”  The soldiers of today and yesterday and centuries past certainly have our respect and motivate us.  However, there are other wounded warriors in our sphere of acquaintances who also have inspiring stories to tell: the small business owner who “goes above and beyond” supporting his employees; the mothers and fathers who (in spite of extreme physical and economic challenges) dedicate their lives to lovingly raise their children with integrity, honesty and faith; the first responders in emergencies who place themselves in harm’s way to save lives; and you, the bloggers, tweeters and journalists who are willing to dig until you find the truth—and write it—even at great risk to your career and/or reputation.

This September season of 9/11 memories has (as you can see) inspired me. I’ve read newspaper commentaries and online quotes from shoppers and cab drivers, waiters and maintenance workers who stepped into the New York streets that day “to help.”  And yet, for me, it is the books by authors such as Susan Van Volkenburgh that continue to inspire me the most.  Her September 11th journey is told in Silent Resolve and the God Who Let Me Down: (A 9/11 Story).  It relates the events of Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, taking the life of her father and 183 others.  It also expresses her “odyssey” through grief and loss.

There is something about holding and reading a book that makes the contents very personal and intimate. IF you have an “overcoming” story to tell, please write it! We all need the reminder—like that cat nudging the soldier—that tragedies are not only survivable but can inspire us and others.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Weekly Self-Published Book Review: The Ultimate Job Directory

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Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:

 job dictionary

The Ultimate Job Directory

Amber Scanlon

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432741846

Working from home is a dream of many, but it is a path littered with scam. “The Ultimate Job Directory: Comprehensive Guide to Legitimate Work at Home” is a guide to finding legitimate telecommuting careers, as Amber Scanlon shares a directory of major companies that offer the option and how readers can take advantage of it. “The Ultimate Job Directory” is a useful reference that may prove useful for some chasing their dream career.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 9/16/14

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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

A dream deferred no more: Teen secretly publishes his mother’s book

Mary Petrie put her publishing dreams on hold to raise a family. This year, her college-bound son gave her a graduation gift: he secretly self-published her book. This is an inspiring story for all writers.

My Self-Publishing Journey: Battle of the Blurb

This self-published author shares how she asked seasoned authors to review her book and write a blurb. This is a great marketing tool and an easy way to build credibility. All writers should read this post.

 A Genocide Survivor’s Story: Seng Ty’s Long Road

A survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocides writes his memoir, from the killing fields to his new home in America, with a stop along the way on ’60 Minutes.’ This success story is an inspiring read.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Copyright Basics, Part II: What works are and are not protected?

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One of the most confusing parts of publishing for many authors is copyright laws. To address the common copyright questions I am often asked, I will be writing a copyright basics series every week for the month of September. See the end of the post for links past posts you may missed, and be sure to check back each week for answers to more of your copyright questions.

What works are protected?

Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. Copyrightable works include the following categories:

  •  literary works
  • musical works, including any accompanying words
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most “compilations” may be registered as “literary works”. Likewise, maps and architectural plans may be registered as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.”

What works are not protected?

Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include:

  • works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression, meaning they have not been recorded in some way
  • titles, names, short phrases, and slogans
  • familiar symbol or designs
  • mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring
  • mere listings of ingredients or contents
  • ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
  • works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship, such as standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources

 To learn more about copyright law, visit copyright.gov. Also, be sure to check back next week for part II of this series: What works are and are not protected?

Copyright Basics, Part I: What is copyright and who can claim copyright?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 9/12/14

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INSPIRED…BY NEIGHBORS

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been two years since my friend Avanti and I embarked on the adventure of telling the story of his wife—Selma’s—immigration to the United States of America.  If Selma’s father had not sought safety in the U.S. from the tyranny of Mussolini, his wife and children would not have followed him and Selma, and Avanti would have never met—and fallen in love—or been “in position” to bless the lives of so many others.  Oh, there are thousands of stories out there like that, you say?  I beg to differ.  Truly, there are NO two stories alike—no two people whose lives touch ours the same.  The facts, fears and fantasies that drive each person to reach the multiple shores of their life-adventures are unique and made up of valuable lessons—for us all.

Marketing specialists have latched on to this truth and are using it in more media genres than ever before.  Have you heard the voice of famous comedian Robin Williams (recently lost to us) reading a poetry segment from the movie Dead Poet’s Society?  The quote is from a Walt Whitman poem:

“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring.

Of the endless trains of the faithless.

Of cities filled with the foolish.

What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer: that you are here.

That life exists and identity.

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Then Robin repeats the last line followed by a provocative question meant to nudge the listener toward the unspoken question.

‘That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.’

What will your verse be?”

And the unspoken question:  What will your legacy be?

Robin Williams has certainly left an amazing legacy behind.  He has touched the lives of millions of people around the world who remember him as “magical,” his performances “unlike anything seen before as if they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place.”

My thought for you today is: …and so it is with each individual person on this planet.  My memoir writing friend Avanti may not have personally touched the lives of millions.  However, his life-legacy and the legacy of his wife Selma are sown into us—all of us—just the same.  I am blessed to have helped him produce that memoir and self-publish it, as with every page I learned something of value for my own life.

Whether you are currently thinking of writing a memoir or are in the midst of writing a great adventure novel, the life-lessons learned from our inspiring neighbors will help you develop your own life-dreams—and build super-hero-characters to enrich the world of books-in-print.  STEP UP, my friends!  Get the writing done!  And publish!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Weekly Self-Published Book Review: Beyond the Secret

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Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:

 beyond the secret

Beyond the Secret

Ardiana Cohn

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781461006893

Submission is a key to victory in life; it’s just a matter of when. “Beyond the Secret: The Moment You Surrender, You Win, But Only if You Recognize the Moment” is a unique approach to spirituality. Author Ardiana Cohn brings readers through a breakdown of the law of attraction, inviting people to embrace their spirit and understand it, and when to give into it fully. “Beyond the Secret” is a fine read with plenty to embrace, much recommended reading.

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