1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Copy-write Statements

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Tolkien, Apr 16, 2022.

  1. Tolkien

    Tolkien Minstrel

    86
    17
    8
    For a self-published book, what should I write in regards to it being copyrighted material? Do I need to do anything to protect my book before I write anything down?
     
  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    4,740
    1,695
    163
    D2D (Draft to Digital) claims they will handle the phrasing.

    Bowker will do the copyright for you...but you'll have to pay.

    Library of Congress (US) charges $45 for copyright, which is the 'base standard,' I guess you could say.
     
    Tolkien likes this.
  3. Tolkien

    Tolkien Minstrel

    86
    17
    8
    TY.
     
  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    2,908
    1,798
    163
    How boring...

    Sundering the Gods is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living, dead, undead, possessed, or anywhere in between is purely coincidental.

    No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, mind melds and other psychic means, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
     
    Tolkien likes this.
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    8,060
    3,801
    313
    Nothing is required for a copyright. It is automatic for anything you write. A disclaimer, or some kind of registration, can be useful in speeding up any legal proceedings you may later want to pursue, and for proving that you are the original writer, but are not strictly necessary.
     
    Gwynndamere and Tolkien like this.
  6. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    2,362
    1,547
    163
    Second this. In our books, we have a copywrite statement that came with our book template, which looks a lot like Demensedonoir's, but even that isn't strictly necessary. What's actually more important is the Publisher's Note further down the page, here. It's there to keep you from being sued by people who think you've defamed them, an unlikely event. This is ours.

    2022-04-17 - Cropped.jpg
     
    Gwynndamere and Tolkien like this.
  7. Tolkien

    Tolkien Minstrel

    86
    17
    8
    Perfect.
     
  8. Tolkien

    Tolkien Minstrel

    86
    17
    8
    Thanks for the example and heads up. Does Ingram then count as a publisher?
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,378
    3,825
    413
    To clarify one point—in the U.S. your copyright has to be registered with the Copyright Office before you can take someone to court for infringement.
     
    A. E. Lowan and Tolkien like this.
  10. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    2,908
    1,798
    163
    Ingram prints the books, but isn't the "publisher" in the sense of owning any rights, like Amazon, B&N, and others, but they do distribute. So, when Target wanted to sell the hardcopy of Eve of Snows they just acquire the books via Ingram.

     
    Tolkien likes this.
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    8,060
    3,801
    313
    I forgot about that part of it. If someone says the Fred in your book is close enough to me that people will think it is, you can respond that we've already told our readers it's not you or anyone else, so there's no confusion. Something like South Park couldn't air without that disclaimer. A high fantasy book wouldn't seem likely to run into that problem, but if you somehow did - say, you have bad blood with an ex or someone who might see themselves in a character - having the disclaimer can make a difference. It still seems so very unlikely to me.

    I believe the OP is using Tolkein as a character, though, so it would definitely be necessary in that case.

    Right, I only meant that you can wait and do it after the infringement has happened and you're ready to take legal action. It's not as if your book is unprotected because you don't do it right away.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2022
    Gwynndamere and A. E. Lowan like this.
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,378
    3,825
    413
    This is true, however there is an important consideration (again under U.S. law)—damages. Say someone steals your book and puts it on Amazon, selling 5,000 copies of your book at $5 each. That’s $25,000 in actual damages you can pursue if you didn’t register the work in a timely manner. That’s a lot of money but not enough to justify a copyright lawsuit. Your attorneys fees will be more than that.

    If you registered the copyright in time (namely, before the infringement happens or within three months of publication) you can get your attorneys fees back from the court and you’re also entitled to statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 per infringement. The lowest end of that scale for 5,000 copies is still $3.7 million. Now the copyright lawsuit makes sense (or may, depending on the defendant) and you may even be able to get an attorney on a contingency. In addition, if the infringement was willful, the high end of the damages award goes up to $150,000 per infringement.

    It’s something to think about given that registration is relatively inexpensive.

    Also, it may seem as though getting that $3.7 million is impossible if the defendant isn't rich and so it's worthless. Not entirely true. It's a huge hammer to wield in getting back that $25,000 in actual damages by way of settlement, which you wouldn't be able to get if you had to finance the lawsuit. The defendant won't have to be rich for that. You may even be able to get more.

    I recently had a couple of cases--one that settled for $40K and another for around $50K. In the first case, the defendant had no money but had a house and was able to get a second mortgage to pay the settlement, in the second case the defendant agreed to pay the settlement monthly for five years, which is a nice little check for my client every month. In both cases, the plaintiff's were entitled to all of their attorneys fees if they won in court (and there was a good chance each would win) and the damages the court could have awarded were much higher. The incentive for the defendants to settle was great.

    So, if you have an attorneys fees clause and $3.7 million in minimum damages award, you've got a giant stick to compel settlement with. You'll never see the $3.7 million unless the defendant is Amazon or Sony Pictures or Netflix etc. and they stole your script. But you'll likely be able to compel a good settlement unless the defendant is completely judgment-proof.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2022
  13. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    8,060
    3,801
    313
    I didn't realize. Register your books then, for sure.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,378
    3,825
    413
    Yeah...the U.S. strongly incentivizes registration. It cannot be required as a condition to having a copyright because we're a member of the Berne Convention, an international agreement that (among other things) prohibits member countries from having formal registration requirements as a condition to having a copyright. But the U.S. maintained it's attorneys fees and statutory damages provisions as well as the requirement for registration in order to bring a civil action.

    (Sorry for the derailing!)
     
    Tolkien and Devor like this.
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    8,060
    3,801
    313
    No you're totally on topic. And thank you for your insight. The topic is what you need to do for copyrights in your work.
     
    Tolkien and Steerpike like this.
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,378
    3,825
    413
    Good point. I was focused on the notice question at the end, which I didn’t have anything to add to :D
     
    Tolkien likes this.
  17. If you use D2D to format your book, then they do indeed create the page for you (or at least, they can). Here's mine:
    [​IMG]

    Nothing too wild...

    As for registering copyright. If you're outside the US, you don't have to. In most places you actually can't even do so. If you're in the US you can, and it makes a difference, as SteerpikeSteerpike explained. Do keep in mind though that being able to take someone to court and actually taking them to court are two very different things. There's still expenses and time to invest and while you might win, nothing is guaranteed, even if you could actually find whoever you're trying to sue...
     
    Gwynndamere and Tolkien like this.
  18. Tolkien

    Tolkien Minstrel

    86
    17
    8
    Thats awesome, ty.
     
Loading...

Share This Page