Good news, author. Your work is under copyright protection from virtually the moment it is created. From the moment you put your words to word processor automatic copyright is applied.
So if protection is automatic, then why would you want to file and pay money for an official copyright certificate?
Here are three reasons why you might want to file a copyright certificate in the US:
Number one, filing is required for a copyright infringement case.
If registration occurs within five years of publication, it’s considered a prima facie. In less legal terms, it means that it’s accepted as true unless concretely proven otherwise.
Also, there are 20 countries in the world that require you to file copyright because they don’t recognize automatic copyrights. Which means, in those countries, someone could republish your work and you have no defense in their courts unless you file for copyrights.
Number two, if you want your book considered for inclusion in the library of Congress, part of the process for submission is to file official copyrights.
I covered that topic in this right here:
Number three, you may just wish to have the facts of your copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration.
It makes the whole thing very official. If you file for copyright, timeline and ownership become very clear.
Registration is voluntary but could be useful. It’s totally up to you. Your work is protected by copyright but your ideas are not.
In the Unites States, the United States copyright office accepts registrations.
Copyright for Canadian Authors:
For Canadian authors, basically it’s the same for you. It’s totally voluntary and only really necessary in an infringement case. If you want to file, it’s through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for a fee.
You may also like to read ‘Should you use a pen name when you write a book?‘.