I need help again.  Is it really necessary to file for copyright when putting a novel on Smashwords (etc)?  I was under the impression that those hassles are over, since the publication of any text constitutes copyright.

 

If those of you who have published electronically have an answer or ( in case it is indeed some requirement by Smashwords) advice on how to get this done most expeditiously, I'd be very grateful.

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Filing a copyright on any work is advisable if you want to claim monetary damages in case someone steals your work. Yes, it is copyrighted the moment you put the words on paper, but if you don't register that copyright the courts are not as friendly to the idea of getting your losses covered.

That said, if you're putting work on Smashwords that was previously published, the copyright was probably already filed by your publisher. I'm not sure how that would work for you. You can find the website for the US Copyright Office here. I would check their information sheets. If you decide to register the copyright, you can pay and get the paperwork filed online, but you will probably have to send one or two copies of the work on disks, which they keep on file.
Thanks, Pepper. Well, I'll probably go ahead and do this. This book (3 books really) has not been previously published. It's a nuisance, but better safe than sorry.
Include the copyright, but don't file unless you really, really feel the need to. You're better off keeping the money.

Smashwords is only looking to verify that you are the author. They're not going to stand up for you in court anyway.
I was really thinking about putting my upcoming writing guide (ebook I'm writing ON writing) on Smashwords but the more I think about it, I might just have it where folks download it from my site. It's gonna be free anyway. The more I hear about Smashwords the more confusing it seems, LOL! I downloaded their guide a while back but haven't read a lot of it. I don't know if I wanna bother with them.

Best Wishes!

http://www.stacy-deanne.net
Stacy- I have three books ON Smashwords but i seem to be getting more sales thru Kindle anyway

I think you can sell on Smashwords but in order to get into a host of catalogs that are available (and in theory, make your book more widely seen & sold), you have to really follow that guide's directions for formatting.... I usually try to format twice and submit it but it's just not worth the hassles involved (and frustration)

So my books are there and selling a couple copies but i'm happy with Kindle

See...my problem is that if Kindle can download yor book with little trouble why can't Smashwords?
Why so nitpicky?
Besides...nearly everything that Smashwords would make make my book available to...
can also get a Kindle APP
which in turn, will get them to my book with a click or two

So, I wouldn't worry much about Smashwords
Stay on Kindle. Seek out a few places that interview Kindle authors and get the word out
Have you tried out the kindleboards?
http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php?board=60.0
Very friendly forum and a great place to ask techy questions
Smashwords has to meet the requirements of all of its various partners.

The advantage of the partners is that they offer more "shelf space" - more pages your book is available on.

The other advantage of Smashwords is that you can offer coupons, which is not only good for special offers and sales with little paperwork, it also allows you to offer free books as prizes, or coupons for reviewers.

And for niche audiences, you never know where a lucrative pocket of readers is lurking. It's good to be available everywhere.
You should put a copyright notice in your book, but filing for copyright is not legally necessary (and wasn't even with printed books - you just have to put in the notice) and Smashwords does not require that.

The thing about filing your copyright officially is that it gives you added benefits in court if someone violates your copyright. I am not a lawyer so don't take this as legal advice, but my understanding is that if you don't file with the U.S. Copyright office, you can only sue for actual damages, but if you do register, you can sue for punitive damages as well.

Plus it's just easier to litigate.
Yes. Thanks, Camille. It was explained to me by the agent who normally handles legal business and also now uploads novels. She wasn't totally clear in her first e-mail and I balked a little, especially since it sounded as if she wanted it done immediately. I may not bother.
It is really easy to file electronically. You do need to set up an account with the copyright office, but all you need is a pdf file. http://www.copyright.gov/
Thanks again. You've been enormously helpful, Camille.

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