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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I have recently published an anthology of essays. I wrote

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I have recently published an anthology of essays. I wrote the introduction and curated/coordinated the collection. I would now like to register the copyright of the book. As this is a collection of essays, is the best way for me to proceed by registering copyright as the publisher? How do I do so? And how long is the process and what are the costs? Thanks in advance, Stephen

I am a solicitor in the UK with a particular interest in copyright law. What do you mean by register the copyright? Copyright is an automatic type of IP. Where do you intend to register the copyright?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Well that is exactly my question. How and where do I register copyright?
Essentially as I explained I published a book of essays. The proceeds were intended to go to a charity I founded and the IP to be used by the charity. However, I now learn that the charity board are considering removing my introduction from the book. In order to protect my IP, which as you say should be automatic, I now wish to register this. Please advise how I should do this and with whom. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I imagine the copyrightservice.co.uk

You don’t register copyright ownership in the same way as you do a trademark or a patent for example. The law in in the first part of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which you can see online. Ownership of copyright automatically vests in the author os a work so the Copyright in your introduction to the book is owned by you. The remaining copyright is owned by the authors of the individual works or their assignees or licencees or if the work is very old it might be out of copyright. The so called copyright service has no legal basis. Copyright is simply a question of being able to establish that a work was made by a particular person so these commercial agencies invite you to lodge your work with them so that it is “date stamped” a particular day in case anyone wants to copy the work. Your anthology, you can’t own the copyright in a work you haven’t written. If you want to publish the work you have to get the permission of the authors if the work is still subject to copyright. Read the Act online and revert if you have any questions. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
That's not what I asked originally. I wanted to know if I could register the work as a publisher? As it is an anthology I understand perfectly that the rights vest with the contributors. However, if there is a way of protecting the layout, and the integrity of the publication, then I would like to know how to do that. Thank you

No you can’t just take someone else’s work and publish it and register copyright as a publisher. As I already said you don’t register copyright from a legal point of view. And you can’t publish someone else’s copyright work without their permission. These so called registration sites are just so that an author of a work can prove the date of a work in case it’s later copied. If you want to publish a collection of works you haven’t written yourself and the works are still subject to copyright then you need the permission of the copyright owners. In the same way that a record company bringing out a compilation album of music needs the permission of the artistes or their representatives in order to do so. I hope that clarifies the position.

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