Do I need to officially copyright my work?

Your work is automatically copyrighted when you create it. Your copyright is not in the idea itself, but in the expression of the idea - so the exact words written in the exact same order. As an author you automatically have copyright over your writing, unless you assign it to someone else. You do not have to go through any formal procedure - if you wrote it, and you have not infringed someone else’s copyright, then the copyright is yours. Copyright means that no one can use your work without your permission.

With book titles, there's no copyright on a title, but there is an offence of 'passing off' so it's always worth doing your research and making sure there isn't a similar book with an identical title. If so, it could be worth changing your title, not least because you don't want your hard work in marketing your book end up boosting the sales of someone else's!

Read more about copyright law in the UK at the British Government's Intellectual Property Office and in this article on copyright from our Learning Zone.

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