Sunday 7 November 2010


Jo Franklin quite rightly pointed out that I hadn't announced the winner of a competition to win a copy of Harry Bingham's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook Guide to Getting Published. I hadn't forgotten but it was some way down my list. However, as responsive as ever, here I am.

The two questions were:
A. Which of these countries publishes more books per head of the population in any given year?

  1. The USA
  2. Germany
  3. The UK
B. Why, in not more than 30 words, is the section on "Protecting your Copyright" so short in  The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook Guide to Getting Published?

The correct answer to A is The UK. According to Harry's book, in the UK there is one book published for every 301 people. In Germany it's 854 and in the US it's 1,857. In China, it's one book for every 9,816.

The reason why the section on protecting copyright is so short is because the issue, in the words of the book, "is a phantom one". As soon as you've written something the copyright is yours and you do not have to do anything to claim it or register it. Basically, you have to wait till someone infringes it and then do something about it.

So, several of you got it right anfd fulfilled the criteria of wit and pithiness etc but I most liked JaneF's cheeky one:
B. The subject on protecting your copyright - at least if it falls under submissions - is brief because he says something like "forgeddaboudit!"
(Ahem - OK so this is copied from Book Maven, but - it's not copyrighted is it?) 

And a special commendation to Susan K Mann for her neat "because once your work is written by you it is copywrited". And I'm saying nothing about the spelling...

And one to AGL for the entry that probably took the most time: "'Ere what you've writen has been sighted, the text's already copyrighted, unless you write of an idea - there's no protection then, I fear."

And an honourable mention to SP who was also perfectly correct. As well, of course, as those experts like Mary, who weren't entering!

So, well done JaneF! Could you email me your address? Email


Nicole Zoltack said...


steeleweed said...

" do not have to [] register it. Basically, you have to wait till someone infringes it and then do something about it."

In the USA, while a work is indeed copyrighted upon being created, if you don't register it and it is infringed, you may have difficulty proving your rights. The purpose of filing with the copyright office is to establish that you are the owner of the copyright.

Nicola Morgan said...

Steeleweed - this is a common belief particularly in the US but the fact remains that all countries which are signatories to the Berne Convention (which includes the US)recognise the law of copyright, the basis of which is that you do not have to register it for it to be legal. Yes, there are things you might choose to do - and in the book they come under the headings, "What if I'm strangely suspicious?" and "Alas, I'm actually paranoiac" - they include things posting it to yourself and not opening it. There IS more of an issue in the film industry, which is perhaps where the extra US concern comes from. There is more detail in the book (and many other places) but the point was protecting copyright is not done by registering it.

Carol E Wyer said...

Maybe I should translate my book into German as I'm enjoying no success here in the UK getting published! Enjoyed your article. Thank you.

Jo Franklin said...

What a prompt response, Nicola. Congratualations Jane F.

JaneF said...

Ooh, thank you. It does sometimes pay to be cheeky then...

(And I am in much need of this book!)

Hestia said...

Well done, JaneF. Your entry made me laugh!