Writing Books/copyright


Hi Susan
I apologize for my lack of clarity. I have an application for a copyright from U.S. Copyright Office, Wash., DC. I send them $30. and a copy of the "work".
My book will be printed by a POD publisher. They will use my electronic file (my original). I want to send a copy of that electronic file on a CD with my application to the copyright office. I can't help but think that they will accept it as a copy of the work. Their definition, on the application: a work is "created " when it is written down, stored in a computer, or otherwise "fixed" in a tangible form. If I put all of that government style legalese aside, I think I can just send them the electronic copy.
Gene Ciliberti

Hello again, Gene:

I don't know if you are familiar with the Copyright Office's website at www.copyright.gov, but if you are not, I would suggest you go there and study the site carefully, exploring all the links. For example, I found there this statement:

"Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright."

That being the case, I wonder why they are charging you $30 for something that is already yours automatically. I suspect it is for an IBSN number. It has been some time, but I believe I went through the same process to get an IBSN number.

The only problem with putting "all of that government style legalese aside" is that if you don't submit your work in a  form acceptable to them, they may deny you whatever you are paying $30 for. It might be that their storage facilities are not set up for CDs, only paper.

It is of course up to you what you do, but I would certainly try to find out if this sum is refundable if you are denied, and how much hassle you will have to go through to get it back. It is always better if you hold the money, rather than letting them hold it!

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 225+ questions.

And good luck with your book!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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