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Basic Copyright Registration Information
One can never learn too much about Copyright, visit the Library of Congress and for application/forms visit
Federal Consumer Information - Copyright
Understanding & Preventing Plagiarism Free E-Book
 Please be advised, Gregath Company, Inc. does not endorse, influence, nor guarantee anything not on our site.
Please query the Library of Congress Copyright Office, or other licensing body, for general questions, not this publishing company.

Go directly to Gregath provided FYI - US Copyright Office
Go directly to Gregath provided FYI - Creative Commons

Gregath Co., Inc. is happy to take care of filing with the US Copyright Office for our customers - in their name. The flat fee for this service is $80.00 (Digital Manuscript), with publishing order. For a traditional mailed application, the full service charge is $150.00, with publishing order: includes filling out the form (mailed to you to sign), the actual registration fee, and USPS Priority mailing of the 2 required books to the Library of Congress (production of books not included in this service charge). Services can be provided without a publishing order, but fees vary.

Always add copyright information to the verso of the title page during manuscript preparation.  Many authors and/or compilers of genealogy and family history books do not fully, formally, register their copyright for various reasons.  Some believe the content of their books to be fact (thus not eligible for copyright), public property, too derivative (a compilation of data) or as belonging to the particular family.  They hope someone else will continue their work by publishing reprints and succeeding editions.   In some cases, a copyright can prevent further publication of important material for many years. This can be both good and bad, depending on the situation. One of many 21st century alternatives to the formal US Copyright is found through Creative Commons.

Quite a few authors believe that by Copyrighting their work and sending copies to the Library of Congress that their book will always be available. This is a common misconception. The Library of Congress is under no real obligation to retain any original published material they own. They are required to keep a copy in some form only - not always the original published book.

For many years, the act of writing alone has secured an implied copyright.  Because of this, if an author does not wish to formally copyright the work, a copyright release statement should then be added to the verso. A formal copyright may get your book information into more hands. It can even be viewed as an easy way to spread the word (marketing) that your book is available for purchase.

Computer graphicThere is a wealth of Copyright information out there. As Blogs are becoming a popular "collective" resource, you might start with: - it is geared for blog media, but good Copyright practices do not change with the media used.
The Copyright office is never a wrong research step, in addition to hitting your favorite search engine.

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Always add copyright information to the verso of the title page during manuscript preparation.  The traditional US Copyright registration process to follow actually begins after publication, with filling out the proper form and sending two of your published books (best format published) with a fee to the Register of Copyrights.  If your publisher is assisting you in application, make sure the copyright is to be registered in your name, not the publisher. 

If a formal copyright is desired, visit the Library of Congress Copyright Office website above, or write to the Register of Copyright, Library of Congress, 101 Independence AVE SE, Washington, D. C. 20599-6000, requesting a free copy of General Information of Copyright and the necessary application form, with instructions for completion.  They will send you up-to-date copyright information. 

Online Registration

If you have your manuscript fully digitized, online registration is the suggested method. We can do it for you, or you can do it easily on your own. Some sort of high speed internet connection is suggested, for ease. You complete the form, pay, and submit your digital manuscript through the Library of Congress secure server. The registration fee is less than registering by mail, and you don't have to surrender two published books for their shelves. Gregath online service charge for publishing clients is $80.00 and includes Library of Congress fees.

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Rights of Copyright

A copyright holder has five exclusive rights they can retain or authorize others to:

  1. reproduce the works in copies

  2. prepare derivative works based on it

  3. distribute copies to public

  4. perform publicly

  5. display to the public

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Length of Copyright 

Copyrighted works prior to January 1, 1978, are valid for a twenty eight year period.   These works are copyright renewable through registration or publication, for an additional forty-seven year period.   

Generally speaking, works created after January 1, 1978, hold a copyright for the author’s life, plus seventy years after death. With work that is anonymous, pseudonymous (unless the author’s identity is revealed in records of the Copyright Office) or made for hire, the copyright term is ninety-five years from the date of publication or one hundred twenty years from date of completion, whichever is the least. 

Copyrights may be for an entire work or any portion thereof.   Perhaps the individual holding the copyright only registered the drawings and photos, not text.  Here, one might wish to consider a copyright search, through the Copyright Office

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Using Copyrighted Materials 

Should you wish to use materials which are copyrighted, gain the written permission of the holder of the copyright.   If you are unsure who holds the copyright or how to contact them, contact the publisher of the material in question.  It is always a good idea to give credit or cite your source.   While many authors paraphrase copyrighted material, they also cite the source. 

When it is unknown whether or not material you wish to use is copyrighted, the Register of Copyrights will be happy to make a copyright search, for a fee.   Current information as to the procedure is available from the Office of Copyrights. 

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Copyright Theft 
Some information about facts

It is said that there will always be unscrupulous people in the world.  Many individuals feel that by formally copyrighting a work, they are fully protected.  This is not always the case.   There are those who do not follow rules, obey laws, or do what the general public would expect them to do.  However, the placement of a copyright statement upon a work does serve to alert the reader that it is protected by copyright laws.  If you formalize your copyright, there is recourse should another violate copyright law. 

Additionally, a printer or publisher has the right to refuse to print or publish work with questionable text, photographs, logos, drawings, etc., which do not appear to have copyright permission to reprint.   Be aware that a printer or publisher may require a signed special release form, stating the author takes full responsibility for all copyright liability. 

As copyright laws change and the larceny of copyrighted material continues to grow, more and more changes will take place.   The author should always keep in mind that while a formal copyright does not prevent theft, it does at least, give one some recourse.

Placement of Copyright Information

Copyright notice can be added any number of ways. There are three required elements for proper notice, regardless of format:

  • Signal of the copyright claim, i.e. Copyright, ©, (c), etc.

  • Year when work was first published (may or may not be/include date completed)

  • Name of copyright owner

Book information is traditionally centered on the page, or centered on the upper one-half of the page within the marginal bounds established for the page format.  In the case of another popular verso format, where all text is left-justify, copyright information should be among the first few items at the top of the layout. Here are three suggestions of wording:

Copyright Ó 1982
By Anna May Cochrane IV Gregath
Printed in the United States of America

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Copyright Ó 2018
Revised Edition
Carrie Ann Cook 

No portion of this copyrighted work may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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Copyright Ó 2019
By Ima Author

Photo on page 66 used with permission
Copyright Ó 2004 - Ima Photographer
"If I Live To Tell", page 165, used with permission
Copyright Ó 2006 - Ima Poet

No portion of this copyrighted material may be reproduced in any form, for any reason, without the  prior written permission of the original copyright holder(s).

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that helps you through the minefield that can develop in today's society when you wish to retain your rights to Copyright, but wish to have your information shared freely. Gregath Company, Inc. does not endorse or recommend any non-governmental Copyright service. However, this service is quickly becoming the standard for those who want to share their work. As a non-profit, their online tools can get you up and running trying to cover all the legal points on your own. Additionally, taking the verbiage to your lawyer for the final approval may result in lower legal fees than if the legal professional had to start from scratch.


Other traditional optional elements that can positively effect sales:

ISBN (Gregath Information) OR

Library of Congress Number (Gregath Information) OR

Book design and format ideas

For more suggestions on this subject and more, order our book:
wholesale price eligible G550-$20.00 WRITING Family History Or Genealogy For Pleasure and Profit Complete Edition, by Gregath Company, Inc., 2011. ISBN: 0-944619-00-2, 8½x11", softbound book, 126 pages, suggestions & examples of all facets of your project for the typist and/or computer user.
Also available on disk.

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