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Copyright registration services

A number of new websites have been drawn to our attention recently, offering to ‘register authors’ copyrights’ in return for a modest (or in some cases not so modest) fee.

They are no doubt a nice little earner for the site hosts; but it is hard to think how they benefit the author.  In any country which is a signatory to the Berne Copyright Convention – which now is the overwhelming majority of countries – copyright automatically exists the moment a work is recorded, be that on paper, a PC, cassette tape, etc.

If you are worried about sending a proposal to publishers, further advice is given in the FAQs section of this website.

When your work is about to be published in the USA, you are advised to register its copyright with the Library of Congress. Your US publisher will generally register the copyright on your behalf, or you can contact the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559 (www.copyright.gov) for further details.

Registration with the Library of Congress is not necessary to secure copyright protection but would be important if you or your publisher should ever want to pursue an infringement of copyright in the USA.

If you are a screenwriter working for American producers, see also the Writers Guild of America West website at www.wga.org.