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How to Copyright a Book

You've written the great American novel, and you want to make sure that your story stays yours. Register your copyright and preserve your intellectual rights.


  • Step 1: Get a copyright registration form Get a copyright registration form from the U.S. Copyright Office. Go to their web site at to fill out an electronic version of the form.
  • TIP: A printable hard copy of the registration form is also available but could take much longer to process.
  • Step 2: Complete the form Complete the form by filling in basic contact information and specifics about your book, such as the title and date you completed it.
  • Step 3: Pay the registration fee Pay the copyright registration fee using either a check or a credit card. If you pay electronically, you’ll receive a confirmation page. If you mail your payment, after it’s processed you’ll receive a shipping slip.
  • TIP: Register your copyright online to save money on the fee.
  • Step 4: Send your book to the Copyright Office Send your book to the Copyright Office by either uploading it electronically after you receive confirmation of payment, or mailing it with the shipping slip.
  • Step 5: Reproduce your book Reproduce your book with a notation of your copyright registration. Use the copyright symbol: the letter "c" with a circle around it, followed by the year and your name. Now your book is under copyright until 70 years after you die.
  • FACT: The first copyright law in the United States was established in 1790 to encourage artists and authors by giving them legal control over their work.

You Will Need

  • A copyright registration form
  • Internet access
  • The registration fee

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