Joseph Perry, Esq.
How Can I Legally Protect My Book?
This is a question I get all the time. Protecting your book, that is your intellectual property assets in your book, is in the form of copyright law and trademark law. There are two steps you need to take.
Steps You Need to Take to Copyright Your Book
First you need to determine if your book is copyrightable. Copyright law protects original works of authorship that are fixed in at tangible medium of expression. What does that mean in plain language?
1) You have to independently create your book (that is, you haven't copied it from someone else and there is a modicum of creativity in your book - it's a low bar to meet).
2) You need to fix your book in a tangible medium of expression (that is, you've stored your book on some medium that can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise, such as clicking the "save" button on Microsoft Word)
If you've done all these things, congratulations, your book is likely copyrightable! However, you're not done.
Second you need to register your copyright. Why do you need to do this? If you don't register your copyright, you can't enforce your rights or get statutory damages and attorneys' fees that may be owed to you because of copyright infringement.
For information about the specifics of copyright registration, check out my article that goes more in detail: https://www.josephperrylaw.com/post/authors-here-is-why-you-should-register-your-copyrights
In addition to copyrighting your book, you can also try to trademark your title. However, keep in mind that single titles cannot be trademarked, unless they reach secondary meaning (i.e., the title gains enough notoriety so the reading public associates you as the source of the title - think very famous titles). Nevertheless, you may be able to trademark a series.
If you need any assistance with your copyright registration, you can call me at 914-775-8774 or contact me on my website: https://www.josephperrylaw.com/contact-us