When it comes to literary works, namely books, in Indian copyright law, there are certain elements that are required to be published along with them. In general terms, copyright provides legal protection to an author’s original work. In terms of literary works, copyright is typically used to protect textbooks, poems, magazines, catalogs, letters, novels, dissertation, song lyrics and so on. The scope of this definition is not limited.
So, you’re writing a book. What goes into your copyright page?
Your copyright page will be placed right after your book’s title page and just before the table of contents. The copyright page must encapsulate some vital information in order for copyright to subsist in your book. These elements are briefly discussed below:
1. The copyright notice: This element includes the tiny “©” symbol or you can use the word “copyright”. It would appear like so: © 2022 Rosemary Hoffman
This is a short line of text that communicates to the public that your work is protected by copyright law and must not be copied. While copyright notices aren’t required by law, they can be helpful when people wish to legally protect their work. Any work you create and share with the public, but wish to prevent the work from being appropriated fully or in part will benefit from having a copyright notice. In case legal action needs to be brought against someone who has copied your work, the notice may help in court, because it becomes easier to prove that the alleged infringer was aware that your work is copyrighted. However, it is not certain that this notice would make a great difference as there are numerous complex factors that are involved in copyright infringement. Despite this, it may deter plagiarism and infringement when one reads this notice in your book.
2. The book’s year of publication
3. The name of the copyright owner: This may typically be the author’s name or the name of the publishing house.
4. Ordering information: If the book has been published by a large publisher, your copyright page could include the ordering information, which mostly includes information for textbooks, sales quantity, and orders by wholesalers or bookstores.
5. Reservation of rights: Generally, there is no requirement to enumerate rights and permissions, since your copyright notice will let readers know you own the right to limit the use of your content as per your wishes. That being said, “fair use” could exempt your enforceability of these rights because your material can be reprinted, posted online, or cited for academic purposes. However, there is a practice among authors to include phrases like “All rights reserved.” Nevertheless, whatever you choose to include here is up to you.
6. Book editions: Regardless of whether the edition information is included on other pages, it must appear here. A simple line of text that states the edition number will suffice. This may appear like so: First Edition, Second Edition, etc. (It can also be written as 1st Edition, 2nd Edition, etc.)
7. ISBN number: The International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, is a 13-digit (ISBNs assigned before 2007 had 10 digits) numeric identifier that is used worldwide by book stores, publishers, and the publishing industry in general. If you are planning to sell your book in stores or online, you will need an ISBN, and you must include it on the copyright page.
8. Your website: It is prudent to put up your site name so readers can learn more about you, your other books and any other relevant information.
9. Credits: This section could credit the book cover designer, editor or any individual who may have contributed significantly to the book.
10. Disclaimer: To prevent incurring lawsuits in the event that, say certain characters or circumstances in your work bear resemblances to living people or situations respectively, you might want to add a disclaimer like so:
“This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”
Non-fiction works may include disclaimers too. For instance, memoirs can have lines disclaiming that in order to protect certain character identities in the story. While we are on the subject of disclaimers, readers must keep in mind that this post does not offer legal advice. It is recommended that any concerns relating to publishing a copyright page be directed to a copyright lawyer.
Practice and Procedure Manual, 2018, by the Indian Copyright Office. Find it at: https://copyright.gov.in/Documents/Manuals/LITERARY_MANUAL.pdf