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View Full Version : Registering copyrights/small presses



Saanen
10-30-2007, 08:03 PM
I'm looking into small presses, and until today I was rejecting any that require an author to register his/her own copyright after publication instead of the publisher taking care of it. I figured if the publisher can't manage $45 to register the copyright, their marketing budget is probably pretty slim too. But this morning I noticed that Mundania Press requires authors to register their own copyrights, and I consider Mundania to be one of the top small presses.

So how do others view the issue of authors being required to copyright their own publications? Is it so across-the-board for small publishers now that I shouldn't worry about it? I dislike the thought of having to pay for any part of the publishing process, even if the money is going to the government and not the publisher.

Jamesaritchie
10-31-2007, 01:10 AM
If a publisher doesn't have enough confidence in my book to shell out forty-five bucks, how much confidence am I supposed to have in their distribution and marketing?

Tish Davidson
10-31-2007, 01:20 AM
If a publisher doesn't have enough confidence in my book to shell out forty-five bucks, how much confidence am I supposed to have in their distribution and marketing?

My thoughts exactly. If they won't pay for the copyright, how many complimentary review copies of the book are they going to send out?

mscelina
10-31-2007, 01:25 AM
I work with a small press (Aspen Mountain Press). AMP took care of the copyright registration and it never even came up in my discussions with the EIC. It sounds a little shaky to me, even though I've not heard anything bad about Mundania. I have to admit, it would be enough to make me reconsider publishing with them. But that's just me.

Saanen
10-31-2007, 01:36 AM
I work with a small press (Aspen Mountain Press). AMP took care of the copyright registration and it never even came up in my discussions with the EIC. It sounds a little shaky to me, even though I've not heard anything bad about Mundania. I have to admit, it would be enough to make me reconsider publishing with them. But that's just me.

Yes, it really shocked me. They're actually next on my list to query as soon as they open for submissions on Dec. 1, but now I'm not sure.

veinglory
10-31-2007, 02:23 AM
Do take into account that non-US publishers have no reason at all to register copyright in the US or elsewhere. Even US publishers may not feel the need to if, as a small press, they consider their chances of suing for substantial monetary damages (rather than to just shut down the plagiarist) to be slim to nil. With small press works I neither expect the publisher to register, nor do I do it myself. I takes my chances.

Jamesaritchie
10-31-2007, 06:37 PM
Do take into account that non-US publishers have no reason at all to register copyright in the US or elsewhere. Even US publishers may not feel the need to if, as a small press, they consider their chances of suing for substantial monetary damages (rather than to just shut down the plagiarist) to be slim to nil. With small press works I neither expect the publisher to register, nor do I do it myself. I takes my chances.


Forget about the money. Money and plagiarism make up only a tiny fraction of copyright law. You need to register any work that's published for a host of reasons.

Birol
10-31-2007, 08:39 PM
That's not only dumb, it''s essentially against the law.

It is not illegal. Literary journals, 'zines, etc., do it all the time. If it were illegal, there'd be a huge outcry against it. In the case of university-owned literary journals, the lawyers would be all over the editors to make certain the university was properly protected.

mscelina
10-31-2007, 09:47 PM
That's good to know, Dan. Thanks! :)

Saanen
10-31-2007, 11:07 PM
Yes, thank you very much for clearing that up, and for the positive change in Mundania's copyright practices!

Sheryl Nantus
02-26-2009, 12:50 AM
Update: I've been informed that Mundania has now reverted to making the author pay for their own copyright registration.

veinglory
02-26-2009, 01:19 AM
I missed the part where I was called a dumb criminal. For the record it is completely and utterly legal, and as stupidity goes it has saved me about $500 and cost me nothing whatsoever that I value.

priceless1
02-26-2009, 02:52 AM
Update: I've been informed that Mundania has now reverted to making the author pay for their own copyright registration.
Yes, this is a typical POD practice because they are always concerned with their risk. Any money going out the door is risk, and avoided. Trade presses worth their salt always take out the copyright in the author's name. They also do the CIP as well.

ideagirl
02-26-2009, 05:42 AM
That's not only dumb, it''s essentially against the law. Small press or not, leaving a work unregistered is, to be blunt, stupid, and shows a gross lack of knowledge about copyright law, here and in Europe.

Forget about the money. Money and plagiarism make up only a tiny fraction of copyright law. You need to register any work that's published for a host of reasons.

Reasons such as...?

TheRightEyedDeer
02-26-2009, 06:04 AM
TheRightEyedDeer Press prints collections that arise out of the work done by our members at The Write Idea (via writing competitions). We do not register copyright at this time as we do not pay the writers and we do not ask for transfer of rights. Copyright remains with each individual author and this is stated in each publication.

If our Press grows beyond its current mandate, we would definitely purchase copyright for our publications. It only costs $65CDN.

We're located in Canada and this is what the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has to say about copyright:


Who owns the copyright?

Generally, the owner of the copyright is:
The creator of the work;
The employer, if the work was created in the course of employment unless there is an agreement to the contrary;
The person who commissions a photograph, portrait, engraving, or print for valuable consideration (which has been paid) unless there is an agreement to the contrary; or
Some other party, if the original owner has transferred the rights.
How do I obtain copyright?

You acquire copyright automatically when you create an original work or other subject matter.

What are the benefits of copyright registration?

Registration gives you a certificate that states you are the copyright owner. You can use this certificate in court to establish ownership (the onus is on your opponent to prove that you do not own the copyright).
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr00090.html?OpenDocument)