How to Prevent Theft of Your Ebooks, Ebook Copyright

By: Michael Hopkins

While the majority of web users are honest people, you must
accept that some people WILL try their best to steal your
products.

For this reason, it's important that you take some measures to
ensure that your product isn't being illegally copied and/or
distributed.

In this article (the first of two on this subject) I'll look at
the issue of copyright protection.

In part two I'll be looking at practical measures you can
take to prevent people from accessing your download
pages or passing your ebook on to others

ESTABLISHING YOUR COPYRIGHT

This information is intended to act as an introduction to the
concept of copyright. Please be aware that I'm not a legal
expert. If you've any doubts regarding copyright then you should seek legal advice.

Copyright is the name given to the protection of your 'right to
copy' a published work.

When you own the copyright to a work, you've the right to
reproduce any number of copies of that work in any way you
choose. You can also grant copy rights to others.

Once you create a published work, your copyright to that work
applies automatically. You do not need to formally register your copyright in order for your copyright of that work to legally
exist. In fact, you do not even need to place a copyright
statement on the work.

Having said that, it's still a good idea to formally register
your copyright.

In the event that someone has stolen you work, having registered your copyright may entitle you to claim for compensation from the offender.

If you haven't formally registered the work, then legally seeking compensation can be much more difficult.

For a closer examination of this important point, read this
article by Mark Levine:
http://www.clickandcopyright.com/why_copyright.htm

THE MINIMUM YOU SHOULD DO

If you are hesitant about paying fees to register your copyright,
then there are still other measures you can take to make sure
that the world knows who owns your work (you should follow these steps EVEN if you DO register copyright).

You should include your copyright statement at the bottom of
every page of your book (and your website and everything else
you create).

Including a copyright statement is no guarantee that your work
will not be stolen. It's also no assurance that you'll be able
to recover royalties or loss of earnings from someone who
infringes your copyright.

However, it stamps the work as being yours. It makes it clear to those who might be tempted to copy it, that they don't have that right.

Example of a copyright statement...

Copyright ? 2003 Your Name (or company name).
All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this e-book may be copied or sold.

Note: Some people use (c) (the letter 'c' in brackets) instead
of the official copyright symbol ? (the letter 'c' surrounded by
a circle). In many countries the law does not recognize this as
a copyright symbol and it's not a given that a court will accept
it as valid. You should ALWAYS write the word 'Copyright' in
FULL as part of your copyright statement and you should use the official copyright symbol.

You should also include a copyright page in your e-book. Take a look at the copyright information in any e-book (or paper book) for ideas on what you should include on this page.

Another idea that may be useful - in a legal sense - is to print
out a copy of your e-book on paper and save a copy on to a
diskette (or CD-ROM).

Place both the paper version and the diskette in an envelope and mail it to yourself via REGISTERED mail. Hold on to the receipt for the mail and when the package arrives to your home, put it away in a SAFE place (together with the receipt) WITHOUT opening it.

This is proof that you had the document in your possession at
the date of the mailing. If you do this before your e-book goes
'live' then you're sure that nobody can have copied your work
before this date.

Here are a few websites where you can learn more about copyright issues...

-The Publishing Law Center: http://www.publaw.com
-The Copyright Website: http://www.benedict.com

Okay, I hope that this has helped you understand the question of copyright a little better. In the next articleeArticle Submission, I'll continue on
the question of ebook protection by looking at practical
measures you can put in place to prevent people from stealing
your ebook from your website.

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