An Author’s Guide to U.S. Copyright Registration when you Self-Publish
With the perceived risk among writers of copyright infringement so extremely high it's no wonder self-publishers are increasingly concerned about making sure their work is copyrighted.
Easy and affordable to do it yourself
Many self-publishing service companies now offer copyright services, but you don't need to use them. While they charge up to $150 for the service, it costs only $35 to easily do it yourself.
Copyright is automatic
In reality, though, you might not even need to register a copyright. U.S. copyright law states that copyright exists from the moment the work is created, "without any action taken by the author, the moment it is fixed in a tangible form so that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."
You don't even have to put a copyright notice on your work. It will ward off potential word thieves, though.
When you need one
You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
In case you anticipate a lawsuit, or just want that extra protection, here's how to do it. You can register for $35, in about 35 steps, as it so happens, and coincidentally, it took me about 35 minutes, too.
Not just for authors and books
Note that while this example pertains specifically to authors, others can also register copyright. You can register works of visual arts, performing arts, sound recordings, and single serials at the same website.