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  • Shelagh Clancy

Copyrighting Your Book in the Age of AI

Your book is copyrighted as soon as you write it. Really—look it up.

Because of this, many self-publishing authors don’t bother with a copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office. Some print their book and snail-mail a copy to themselves, leaving the unopened package as proof.

The only time you need that extra copyright is if you sue for copyright infringement. And how often will that problem crop up? Almost never, right?

Enter AI

But now, with AI scraping the internet for content, things have changed. Your plot, your characters, the actual text of your book—all these may be available to bots who have no scruples about plagiarism. They’re supposed to abide by the law, but who’s checking? We don’t have enough e-cops to keep up.

That’s why it’s now a good idea to get that copyright before your book is published. Many publishers offer this as part of the publishing service, or you can get a copyright yourself for about $45.

Enforcing a Copyright

What if someone really does steal your work? There’s good news: a Copyright Small Claims Court. You can file a claim for $100. You don’t need a lawyer. The maximum damage award is $30,000. (If you think you’ll need more than that, we suggest a copyright lawyer.)

Here are some details about the Copyright Small Claims Court. Meanwhile, it never hurts to send yourself a printed manuscript.

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