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Understanding Author Rights

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You have poured your heart and soul into creating your written work, whether it is a book, essay, poem, article, etc. As you embark on your literary journey, understanding your author rights are important. These rights not only protect your creative work but also determine how it can be used, shared, and monetized.

What Are Author Rights?

Author rights, often referred to as copyright, are a set of legal protections granted to the creators of original written, artistic, and intellectual works. These rights give authors the exclusive authority to control how their work is used, reproduced, distributed, and adapted. When you create a piece of literature, whether it's a novel, a poem, or a research paper, you automatically hold copyright over your work. This copyright is not something you need to apply for; it's yours as soon as your work has been written down. HOWEVER, you can get documented protection from the US Copyright Office.

The Basic Components of Author Rights

  • Reproduction: The right to make copies of your work. This includes printing, photocopying, and digitizing.

  • Distribution: The right to control how your work is spread out into the world. This covers everything from selling physical copies to distributing digital versions online.

  • Derivative Works: The right to decide whether others can create new works based on your original creation. This includes adaptations, translations, and sequels.

  • Public Performance and Display: The right to control when and where your work is performed (in the case of plays, for instance) or displayed (in the case of visual arts).

  • Moral Rights: These rights protect the author's personal and reputational interests. They include the right to be recognized as the author and the right to object to any derogatory treatment of the work.

How to Protect Your Author Rights

  • Understand Copyright Duration: Copyright protection is not eternal. The duration varies from country to country but typically lasts for the author's lifetime plus 50 to 70 years. After this period, the work enters the public domain, and anyone can use it without permission.

  • Register Your Copyright: While copyright is automatic, registering your work with your country's copyright office provides an official record and can be beneficial in legal disputes.

  • Licensing: Consider how you want your work to be used. You can license it under various terms, such as "All Rights Reserved" (the strictest) or under Creative Commons licenses that allow certain uses with attribution.

  • Read Contracts Carefully: When working with publishers or agents, read contracts thoroughly to understand how your rights are being managed. Negotiate when necessary.

  • Keep Records: Maintain records of your work, drafts, and correspondence related to your work. These can be invaluable in demonstrating your authorship if copyright disputes arise.

Balancing Author Rights and Sharing

While it's essential to protect your author rights, it's also important to strike a balance between protection and sharing. Many authors choose to share their work online, allowing readers to access it for free, while retaining certain rights, like the right to be attributed as the author. In a world where information and creativity flow freely, author rights help ensure that your work remains yours to control and profit from as you see fit. Understanding these rights is a crucial step for every author on their journey to sharing their unique voice and stories with the world.

Enhanced DNA Publishing is now offering help with filing copyright forms. Registering a book with the U.S. Copyright Office helps authors protect their intellectual property rights and provides them with stronger legal standing in case of any infringement or disputes. Registering a book with the U.S. Copyright Office also provides legal evidence of ownership and a public record of the copyright claim. This can be crucial in case of any disputes or legal challenges related to ownership of the work.

If you would like assistance completing your application for your copyright, Complete this form and we will file your application with the US Copyright office. Protect your life’s work for life!


Denola M. Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC and Enhanced DNA Publishing. ThroughEnhanced DNA, Denola develops and nurtures individuals and organizations to achieve their Leadership, Communication and Performance goals and objectives. Denola is also an author and publisher and through Enhanced DNA Publishing, assists new and newer authors in publishing their books according to the standards of the Independent Book Publisher's Association (IBPA). Denola retired from Eli Lilly and Company after 27 years where the majority of her career was focused on Employee Relations/Human Resources. Interested in becoming an author? Check out Denola' s award-winning book, Enhancing Your Author DNA: Step-by-Step Publishing Guide.

You can connect with Denola on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIN Enhanced DNA or send a message to


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