Or, more specifically, why is copyright important to an author’s success? That’s the real question, and there are a few answers. But first, we need to understand what copyright is. Here’s a description taken from Frequently Asked Questions About ISBNs, Copyright, and Book Publishing in General:
Merriam-Webster described copyright as a “Noun: The exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work).”
How Do I Copyright My Own Work?
As the original creator of your manuscript, you own 100 percent of all of the rights to reproduce, publish, sell, and distribute your words in whatever manner you see fit. Your manuscript belongs to you and you alone—from the moment you write it. It is only when you decide that you want to publish your manuscript into book format with the hopes that you’ll earn some money (or educate people, or entertain people, or whatever your personal reasoning is for publishing it) that the copyright ownership of that work might shift to someone else, depending on which publication method you choose.
Why is My Ownership of Copyright Important?
I recently published a free ebook titled Your Ebook is an Asset … if You Own the Copyright that I recommend you read in full because it provides more detail than this post. It can be downloaded from Amazon, Kobo, or E-Sentral. Here is what you need to know.
Once your published book becomes popular, you will begin to see the true value of copyright ownership. This is when more business people may come knocking and asking to buy additional subsidiary rights to that work. Maybe someone will want to purchase the exclusive Bengali and Hindi translation rights to your work so he or she becomes the only one who can reproduce, print, and distribute it in these languages in India for a profit. Maybe others will want to buy the exclusive motion picture rights so that they can adapt your book for film. Imagine how much money the licensee must have paid (and earned!) for all the Harry Potter merchandise that was created and sold as an offshoot of that successful book series—never mind all the profits that were earned from the motion picture sales.
You can “divvy up” the rights to a work in so many ways that it would be impossible to list them all here, but this gives you a very basic idea. It is simplified to provide an easier understanding. It also shows you the income potential of your book past royalty earnings alone. This is why copyright is so important to an author’s success. Read the book. It will open your eyes to your potential.
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