Copyright and ISBN

At this point you have a book that is in its semi-final stage. How do you copyright your work? And what is an ISBN? Scroll down to look at what these mean and what your options are.

Copyrighting your work

Ownership     As soon as you write something or compose something, it is automatically “copyrighted.” To assert your ownership of a written work, you simply need to state on the copyright page of the book – who owns the copyright and give the date. Example: Copyright 2013 by Tom Jones. (The copyright page is traditionally p.iv, the verso or back side of the main title page, p.iii.) You do not have to pay a fee to copyright your material; you may choose to register your work with the copyrighting body in your country, which involves a fee, but by law you are not required to. A standard copyright page fulfills the international copyright law requirements.

All rights reserved     You have two options with copyrighted material: you can go the “All rights reserved” route, in which case you will add this phrase to your copyright page, after the info on who owns the copyright. And you will follow up with a paragraph like this:

No part of [book title] may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations embedded in a review.

When all rights are reserved, it means that non-commercial use of your work is not allowed. For instance, if a teacher wants to photostat certain pages of your book to distribute to students in a class, he/she can’t do that. They are supposed to write to the copyright holder and get written permission first.

Creative Commons     You may prefer to go with “Sharing” your material. If so, you can find out how to do this at Under license to Creative Commons, you can specify that you do/do not give certain rights. You may choose to allow your material to be copied for non-commercial purposes, for example, as long as standard attribution is adhered to (that is, naming the author and title of the work).

Besides the freedom Creative Commons grants to people who want to use your material in educational or other non-commercial settings, the other great advantage of licensing under Creative Commons is that your work will be “found” and copied by online search engines, making it available in online libraries and through google searches. The aim of Creative Commons is to share globally. 200 million photographs at Flickr are licensed  under Creative Commons. All the courses at MIT are licensed under Creative Commons. So people anywhere in the world can access the work and use it according to the restrictions the artist/writer/publisher places on the work.

Here’s an example of a Creative Commons paragraph you can add to your copyright page (in place of the “all rights reserved” approach):

This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported” License, [insert 3 symbols here for by/nc/nd]. Normal attribution and Fair Use rules apply, but excerpts may be copied for educational and non-commercial use.

There are 6 types of licenses at Creative Commons. At the CC website, they talk you through the selection process so you choose the type that is tailored for your project and your intentions. Licensing at Creative Commons is free.

ISBN and where to get them

More on this in the next day or so…

Creative Commons License
ON SALT RIVER Website by AG et al is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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