There is only one way to copyright your work and that is through the US Copyright Office. A "poor man's copyright"---mailing your work to yourself---is absolutely useless if you ever have to defend your copyright in court. In order to do that, your work has to be registered with the USCO. Equally useless are the "copyrights" offered by any number of online sites. these offer you no legal protection whatsoever.
1. Your work is legally copyrighted the moment you complete it. You can officially add "copyright (c) Joe Schlutz 2011" to your work. You do not have to register your work for it to be copyrighted...that is automatic. However...
2. If you think you may ever have to defend your work in court, it has to be registered.
Everything you need to know is here: http://www.copyright.gov/
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Black Cat Studios
I am interested in publishing a book on family genealogy and incorporating pictures from wikipedia. If descendants written about are dead, and the info has been researched online, are you concerned about liability? And, if the pictures from Wikipedia are tagged according to their disclaimer:
do I submit this page for purposes of copyright?
I published a book on Lulu. I also submitted the book to the U.S. Copyright office. The office says it will be three months before completion of application. Can I sell the book while the copyright is processing, and how do I go about putting the copyright on the book now? I have the second page of the book blank, so that I can put the Library of Congress number and copyright on that page.