E-Publishing and the Importance of Copyright

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The Internet has given book publishers and other content providers an entirely new way to provide content. An independent author with minimal resources can make his or her work accessible to a global audience. But we all know what happens when you post something online: You can never get it back. Which makes it even more important for e-publishers to know the importance of copyright.

According to copyright.gov, the online face of the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright is grounded in the U.S. Constitution and protects your "original works of authorship." An e-book, for example, is considered a written work and receives copyright protection.

People with original creative work can opt to register with the US Copyright Office in case any legal action related to their work arises. Without a formal and registered copyright, proving one’s authorship in court may present a challenge. Plus, a formal copyright can sometimes help with intellectual property protection on an international level.

As it currently stands, e-publishing is covered with copyright protection—a copyright that covers print also covers use of that work on the Internet, including through audio and video. However, for many authors and content providers a two-in-one print and online copyright isn’t enough. One argument is that where it would require some skill and time to duplicate or distribute a printed work, an electronic document can be copied and distributed in a matter of seconds and with minimal skill.

To limit unauthorized distribution of protected content, the e-publishing industry, like the music industry, utilizes DRM, or digital rights management. DRM allows publishers to control creative work once it’s out of their hands. For e-publishers, DRM protection can limit what a reader can do with an e-book, such as printing it or copying its text into another document, and even restrict the reader from sharing the file. 

With the recent surge in popularity of electronic readers and digital pads, the e-publishing industry has had to reevaluate distribution and protection of copyrighted content. Anything posted online is practically out there forever and with no control.

One step toward having control over your intellectual property is to safeguard one’s work via copyright. Check out LegalZoom copyright services for more information and to get your original work protected.