Copyright & Trademarks



Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the “original works of authorship.” As soon as you write your material on paper, it is yours and you can claim copyright. Filing for copyright creates a public record of your copyright claim, just in case you would need to file an infringement suit. You should always have the copyright symbol on your book to protect your work, even if you don't file with the copyright office. However, it is recommended that you file for copyright with the Copyright Office to establish a public record of your copyright claim.

You may file for copyright at The preferred method is to file online, but paper forms may also be submitted. It may take 6–12 months to receive your certificate, but filing online will shorten the process by about 2 months. The effective date is the date the Copyright Office received your application, as long as you filed correctly.

Take Note

Good websites regarding copyright and trademark issues in the field of publishing are and

Be careful to not violate copyrights when creating your book. Generally, all artwork and photos are copyrighted, unless you are using royalty-free photos or clip art, you own the images, or you paid someone to create artwork for your book. Copyrighted images include photos or artwork from a newspaper, magazine, book, web site, greeting card, gift wrap, etc. If you are using artwork or photos that do not belong to you, please provide a signed Release Form (PDF) to authorize usage.



A trademark (™) establishes instant identification with a product through words, symbols, and devices that identify and distinguish one product from another. You may also see the trademark listed as ® if it is registered. A few examples are Coca Cola® and Lean Cuisine®. If you have questions regarding registered trademarks or using brand names in your book, contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office at

Two trademark infringements to avoid:

1. Using a symbol or mark similar in appearance or name to that of another product.

2. Using an identifying feature so similar to another product it is likely to cause confusion in the mind of the consumer. This could include color, cover, images, packaging, and title.

A note about copyright infringement; If Morris Publishing suspects your book is violating a copyright or trademark, we will not begin production until we have confirmed approval for its usage or changes are made to the item in question. We have a Release Form on our website for artists and photographers to provide written permission to you.

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