How To Copyright a Book: Step By Step

Are you wondering how to copyright a book? Copyright protection is important for all authors. Learn how to protect your intellectual property and artistic works.

Authors work hard to protect their material, and the U.S. Copyright Office is responsible for copyright law, which protects authors against copyright infringement. Copyright registration takes place when an author or creator establishes a detailed, public record of their intellectual work. If you are an author, the books, articles, and blog posts you write belong to you. As the owner of the copywriter, you control how it is used.

Copyright protection can protect you against someone stealing your ideas and using them for personal gain. It can also help you make money writing.

For example, if you write a book, you can prevent a bookstore from selling copies of your book without your permission. Similarly, you can use copyright to aid with DMCA takedown requests if someone rips off your work or your book online.

If you want to copyright your work, it involves a formal copyright registration process. You’ll have to fill out forms, submit documentation and pay a filing fee before being awarded copyright protection. If that sounds like lots of work, it’s all part of becoming an author

Remember, we’re not legal advisors and this content is for informational purposes only. If in doubt, speak to an attorney or lawyer in your country.

Materials Needed for Copyright Protection

How to copyright a book?

If you want to copyright your work, you’ll need these materials:

  • A computer with internet access. The process takes place online, so you need a secure connection that can protect your personal information as you fill out the application.
  • A credit card to pay the filing fee.
  • A completed work that you own. This could include a digital copy or a printed version. You might need to reference information from your work throughout the application process.
  • Postage materials. If you need to mail a physical copy of your work, get a padded envelope and a few stamps. Or, you may want to go to the post office and ask them to send in a tangible form.

Once you have everything you need, you can start the process to protect published and unpublished works. Is this your first time creating writing prompts? Check out our guide on how to create a writing prompt. Or you can also check out our other how-to articles by typing “how to” in our search bar.

Step 1: Vist The U.S. Copyright Office Website

How to copyright a book?

To start the process, visit US electronic copyright office. Even though the website is outdated, it’s easy to navigate.

Familiarize yourself with the menus, and locate a button that prompts you to log in. If you do not already have an account with the US Copyright Office, create one before you start registration to protect a copyrighted work.

Step 2: Make an Account

If you do not already have a username and password, create your account. There should be a blue button on the page that prompts you to log in. When you visit this page, you should see a message that prompts you to create a new account or register if you do not have one. Either log in to your account or create an account that allows you to do so.

Remember that your copyright registration is responsible for protecting your intellectual property. Therefore, you should pick a username and password that will make it difficult for someone to steal your copyright protection. You will also need to remember these credentials to go through the rest of the process. 

Step 3: Begin the Copyright Registration Process

Once you have an account and have logged in, you can start the copyright registration process. There are two options available. There is a cheaper option, which is where you register a single work by a single author. Then, there is the standard application, which costs a bit more money.

Decide which of these options is best. If you only have one book you need to protect, and one author (yourself), opt for the less expensive option. If you’ve multiple books or authors, select the standard application.

Copyright law can be complicated, so speak with an attorney before going through the process. That way, you are following expert legal advice and can put your copyright application in the best position possible to be successful. 

Step 4: Fill Out Your Information 

As you start the application process, you will need to fill out a lot of information. Fortunately, most of the questions are easy to answer. Some of the most important information you need to have in front of you during the process includes:

  • Both printed books and electronic books are literary works. Whether you have a printed copy, an electronic copy, or multiple versions to protect, everything qualifies as a literary work and needs to be protected.
  • If the screen asks you for the copyright owner, copyright holder, or the claimant, that’s you! You are the person who wrote the book, and you are the person who deserves protection. Make sure you accurately list yourself on the applications, as it might be used in a court of law.
  • If the screen asks you for the publication date, use the date when your book went or will go live. If a publication date is listed next to your work in the bookstore or Amazon, use that.
  • To complete the application process, you will need to send the most recent (or best available) edition to the copyright office. That way, there is a clear example of the work you are trying to protect.
  • Take your time as you fill out this information. It’s an official record of your intellectual property and should be accurate. Check everything a second time before submitting. 

Step 5: Pay the Filing Fee With the Application

The exact filing fee will depend on the type of application you submit. You should expect to pay somewhere between $35 and $55. 

You can pay the fee online with a credit card. Even though there are multiple options, a credit card is probably the easiest. You might be charged a processing fee for the credit card payments, so make sure you keep track of this. Without the filing fee, your copyright protection application will not be official. 

Step 6: Send In Sample Copies of Your Work

Send in a few copies of your work to complete the copyright protection process. If you’re publishing an electronic book, you can upload a digital copy of your work. Remember that you need to upload the best available edition. This work is going to act as an example of the intellectual property you want to protect, so make sure it looks good.

Send in a few hardcover or paperback copies if you also want to protect print editions. If you have an option, go with a hardcover copy. This is more durable than your paperback copy, and you want it to last.

If you provide both versions, make sure you upload a digital copy and send a physical version to the copyright office. New Line. There is a small chance that you might have received a control number from the Library of Congress. If that is the case, you will need to send in additional copies to complete the process. Both the copyright office and the Library of Congress might need copies of your work. 

Step 7: Wait For Copyright Registration

Unfortunately, the US government is not exactly the fastest organization globally. Therefore, it may take several months for you to receive your copyright notice in the mail. If it takes a long time for it to arrive, do not despair.

It will take several months to receive your protection from the date your application is completed. You can always call or contact the copyright office for an update. If there are any problems with your application, the copyright office will reach out to you. If not, you need to be patient. Eventually, your copyright certificate will come in the mail. Looking for more how-to-guide articles? Check out our guide to how to write interview questions to help you prepare for your upcoming interview!

Step 8: Protect Your Work

If you have copyright protection for your work, let everyone know. Therefore, as soon as you get your copyright protection, make sure you add a notice to your work. You can go with a copyright symbol, the © that you frequently see, or a shorthand version, which is ( c ). You can also simply write out “copyright notice” on your work. Meanwhile, issue a DMCA takedown request if you spot your work plagiarized online.

Next to your copyright notice, include your name. That way, everyone knows who is being protected by the copyright notice. You should also include the year the work was first published and the years of any subsequent editions. You need to be as thorough as possible, and you might also want to include the contact information of your publisher, your attorney, or your personal contact information so that people can get in touch with you if they’re going to use your work.

The Final Word on How To Copyright a Book

Whether you are going through a book publishing company or self-publishing, it is important to fill out the copyright application correctly. Then, make sure to include a copyright notice on a copyright page at the front of your work. Even though it can be challenging to fill out the application on, you need to protect your creative work. Adding a disclaimer at the front of your original work can protect your intellectual property from being stolen.

If you want to register a literary work, make sure you go through the book copyright process. It takes time and money, and it’s not fun. But, it’s worth protecting your intellectual property and all derivative works. You deserve exclusive rights to it. If you need help with the standard application, consider reaching out to an attorney who can help. If you like this article, check out our guide to the best plagiarism checkers.

FAQs About How To Copyright a Book

What do I need to do if I have questions about the copyright process?

If you need legal advice, or if you want to file a new claim for statutory damages, reach out to an attorney. Even though there are a few simple steps in the application process, U.S. copyright law can be complicated, and you need to work with an attorney who can point you in the right direction. This is particularly important if you have a claim of plagiarism or if you have questions about fair use.

How long does it take to complete the copyright application? 

It only takes a few minutes to file an application with the copyright office, but it can take several months for them to review your work. Therefore, you will need to be patient before getting your registered copyright certificate back. 

What should I do once I get my copyright certificate?

Let everyone know that a copyright certificate protects your work. That way, they do not try to steal your work or use it without your permission. Make sure you have a way for people to contact you if they want to use your work.


  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.