What To Include in Your Book’s Copyright Page

publishing check listWhen people truly do all they can to self-publish their books, the questions that can come up have to do with things most of us as readers never really examine. This is true for the copyright page. The copyright page is usually on the back of the Title Page and believe it or not is the culmination of your books’ creation.

At PageMaster Publishing we want to enable you to do all you can, so here is the information and links you need to do it all yourself.

What to include in a copyright page

  • Title of the book
  • Year of copyright
  • Type of copyright notice
  • Publisher
  • ISBN
  • Copyright of sources used
  • Place of printing
  • CIP/LCC Information

Title of the Book

The title and year of copyright usually go together at the top of the copyright page. For example:

Healing the Wounds of Abandonment and Rejection © 2009 Cheryl Lynn Shea

Type of copyright notice

You need to decide under what type of copyright you want to release your book. First you should understand a bit about copyright in Canada.

About Copyright

Copyright protects the expression of an idea, patent protects an idea.

The following information is excerpted comes from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s website

Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. When you own the copyright in a work, you control how it is used in order to protect its value. Others who want to use the work have to buy or otherwise get your permission.
Generally, an original work is automatically protected by copyright the moment you create it.

Find more information on how and why to register in A Guide to Copyright.

Marking a work with the copyright symbol is not mandatory under Canadian copyright law but some other countries do require it. The marking consists of the symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication.

Even though not always required, marking is useful since it serves as a general reminder to everyone that the work is protected by copyright. This symbol may be used even if the work is not registered.

Copyright commonly protects the following:

  • literary works, e.g., books, pamphlets, computer programs and other works consisting of text;
  • dramatic works, e.g., films, plays, screenplays, scripts, etc.;
  • musical works, e.g., musical compositions; and.
  • artistic works, e.g., paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures, plans, etc.

Copyright also applies to performer’s performances, sound recordings and communication signals (radio waves).

Types of Copyright

It is important to understand that you own the copyright to your writing. All you do on the copyright page is provide the notice of copyright. What you want to allow others to do with your work is up to you. Do you want people to ask your permission for any kind of use? This of course does not infringe on the fair use of someone else citing you in their work. If so, you’ll probably like to reserve all rights.

For example:

Copyright © 2015 Author Name
All Rights Reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or in any means – by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission.

You might want to consider using a fairly open copyright for some books. One that you can look at is the Creative Commons Deed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada

Basically, For some books you may not care if others use what written for their own non-commercial use… as long as they cite you. This is a great way for information to go viral.  But there is warning in using this type of copyright for your book. I saw someone print books they didn’t own the copyright for. After seeing the sub-standard printing, I knew I didn’t I want someone printing off a shoddy copy of any of my books and then giving them away as an example of my professionalism.

The Creative Commons tries to bridge the gap between reserving all rights and public domain. You may be producing material you want others to have access to reproduce. Maybe you want to give your writing away assisting viral marketing of other sales. Perhaps you have other reasons to avoid the limitations All Rights Reserved imposes. If you’re interested in finding out more about Creative Commons check out http://creativecommons.org/license/  

You may also want to write a variation on the notice based on the Respect Copyright — Encourage Creativity motto adopted by the International Publishers Association. As the copyright holder you can release or retain the rights you choose.

Other Works Cited Notices

If you plan to include anything in your book which has not been created originally by you, you will need to give credit to the source, citing publication details when appropriate. Notice can be attributed as a caption or inline, or on the copyright page. You may also need to obtain permission from the copyright owner. Some examples are:

  • Quotes, whether from interviews you have conducted, from a published or unpublished work, or from any other source, including online postings.
  • Poems or song lyrics, or parts of poems or song lyrics, whether published or unpublished.
  • Illustrations, paintings, graphics or other artwork.
  • Photographs (those you take yourself may require a model release).
  • Tables, charts, or graphs.
  • Written or graphic material from the Web.

These are the most common kinds of non-original material, but there may be others. It is the responsibility of the author to determine if content from another source requires permission for use, or if it falls under “fair use” guidelines. It is also the author’s responsibility to obtain such permission, including payment of any fees which the copyright owner requests as a condition for granting permission (or choosing to remove the material from the work).

How do you know when you need permission?

But how do you know when a particular item requires that you obtain permission from the copyright owner in order to include it in your book? The following suggestions are not from any official source, but have been gleaned from research and experience. It is recommended that you look into the issue of copyright infringement for yourself, at least enough to feel confident about making decisions regarding the necessity of obtaining permission.

  • Unpublished material, including quotes from email, telephone or in-person interviews, and posts to mailing lists or newsgroups. Whether it is from someone you know, from archived postings or from an unpublished print document, it is best to obtain permission before including anything in your book which has been authored by someone else but not previously published. Usually, a fee is not required, but all such contributors should receive attribution and a complementary copy of your book.
  • Quotes from published books. Publishers require you to obtain permission if you are quoting text in excess of a maximum word count (between 100 and 1000 words, depending on the publisher). Whether you want to include one long quote or a number of short quotes, if the total exceeds 100 words, you should contact the publisher for their guidelines. Publishers often charge a fee for granting permission to quote from one of their publications. Amounts may vary, but $100 is typical.
  • Quotes from periodicals. If you want to quote from a magazine, journal, or newspaper, the word limit may be less than for books. Contact the publisher and ask for their guidelines if you are quoting more than 50 words. A fee may be required.
  • Previously published poetry. Permission is usually required if you use more than two lines of a poem. If the whole poem is only a few lines long, you may need permission to quote any of it. A fee may be required.
  • Illustrations, figures, tables, charts — all visual material. You will probably need permission for anything of this nature, and will likely have to pay a fee. A simple chart that lists the typical methods of treatment for various forms of cancer might be okay, since it contains only facts, and facts cannot be copyrighted.
  • Most material published by the U.S. government is not copyrighted – materials published by the Canadian government is. Permission to use or reproduce government works may be obtained by contacting: Crown Copyright Officer,Canadian Government Publishing, Public Works and Government Services Canada Ottawa ON K1A 0S9 Tel.: 613-996-6886. Email: copyright.droitdauteur@pwgsc.gc.ca
  • Photographs someone else has taken. You will need written permission from the photographer. You should make sure all appropriate model releases have been signed for recognizable people as well.
  • Photographs from a publication. You will need permission from the copyright owner. This may be the publisher or the photographer and usually is outlined on the copyright page of the publication. A fee may be required.
  • Written or graphic material from the Web. It is best to request permission to use anything found on a personal Web site. For commercial, educational or organizational sites, use the guidelines for similar material in print sources. It is less likely that payment of a fee will be a condition for permission than with publishers of print sources, but this will depend on the kind and amount of material you wish to use. Sometimes Web pages specify that material on them can be freely used. Be sure to note if there are restrictions on such use, for example, if it is only for private use by individuals, or only for non-profit use.

Unsure about something? Contact the copyright owner and ask them what their guidelines are regarding the material you wish to use.

When Is It Fair Use?

There are five basic rules to keep in mind when deciding whether or not a particular use of an author’s work is a fair use:

Rule 1: Are You Creating Something New or Just Copying?

Rule 2: Are Your Competing With the Source You’re Copying From?

Rule 3: Giving the Author Credit Doesn’t Let You Off the Hook

Rule 4: The More You Take, the Less Fair Your Use Is Likely to Be

Rule 5: The Quality of the Material Used Is as Important as the Quantity

In determining whether your intended use of another author’s protected work constitutes a fair use the golden rule: Take from someone else only what you wouldn’t mind someone taking from you.

Find out more at  http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fair-use-rule-copyright-material-30100.html

Bible Version Copyright Notices

The publishers of Bible versions reserve the rights, but generally grant permission for use with the limits outlined. Also see our post on copyright and Bible use. Each version has it’s own formula and requirements, so you need to check with each one you use to make sure you’re following what they’ve set out. A good place to start your research is http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/

If the version you’ve cited isn’t listed there or on the publishers web site, or if you are using more than the allotted limit, you’ll need to contact the publisher to request permission or use a different version.

Assuming the publisher grants blanket permission as long as you don’t publish the entire text you can insert the appropriate copyright notice on your copyright page. Here’s an example from a commonly quoted version:

The NIV text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.

When the NIV is quoted in works that exercise the above fair use clause, notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page or opening screen of the work (whichever is appropriate) as follows:

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

We have the copyright rules and notices for almost every major English Bible version at PageMaster Publication Services. Let us do it and save yourself hours of work.

Photo Privacy Laws

Photographs that you have taken. Even though this is created by you, you will need to obtain a model release from any person whose face is clearly shown (recognizable), whether or not they have posed for it. Written permission should be filed where it is accessible if required.


International Standard Book Number is a worldwide identification system that has been in use since the late 1960s. There is a different ISBN number for each edition and binding of every title (paperback, large print, hardcover, eBook). You only need 1 (one) ISBN for your book to be marketed around the world. You don’t need one for Canada, one for the US, one for the UK… Get your ISBN in the country your book is being published.

It’s important to realize that the ISBN belongs to the publisher. If you want to be the one responsible for filling orders that come in over the years and have complete control over your book  and be the only source of marketing and distribution, then consider getting your own. If you’d like help with all that, consider PageMaster Publishing (distribution rights are required).

Include the ISBN on your copyright page. The world has switched to a 13-digit ISBN, (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number) but if you have an older 10-digit you’ll want to switch it to an ISBN-13. You can do that here:  http://www.isbn.org/converterpub.asp

Include it as:

ISBN: 978-0-9813961-8-7

For a journal or other serial publication an ISSN applies.

Place of Printing

Include the country of origin (important for exporting); and if PageMaster Publishing Services is doing the printing, we’d appreciate a little acknowledgement with our logo on the Copyright page. Something like:

Publication Assistance and Digital Printing in Canada by: PageMaster Publication Services.

CIP/LCC Information

Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) enables the cataloging of books before they’re printed. It also lets bookseller and libraries know about upcoming books. All CIP information gets published through New Books. It’s a great way to freely advertise your book published in Canada. Having the information in your copyright page makes it easy for libraries to catalogue your book and booksellers to order more copies. Apply for it as the publisher at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cip/index-e.html

NOTE: CIP has been restricted and most services replaced by Booknet Canada.

LCC Number

If you’re publishing in the US, you’ll want an LCC number instead of the Canadian CIP.
The Library of Congress Catalog Number is essential for publishers if they sell to the library market. Obtain a Library of Congress Catalog Number at http://pcn.loc.gov/pcn 


The copyright page brings a large part of the publication process together on one page.

  • It sets the rules for how others can use your book.
  • It honors the permissions you’ve collected to include materials in your book.
  • It creates the way for booksellers to know about your book and book buyers how to purchase more in the future.

At PageMaster we can help you with every step along this journey. Whether we help you to do it yourself or do the work so you can focus on what you do best, we’re ready to see you succeed at your publishing dreams.

  • Dora H Rodriguez says:

    Would like information and direction on getting a copyright for a book I have in hand for publishing. Also, a publishing company that may assist with the process.

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Dora. Copyright is automatically given when you create something in Canada. You do have the option of registering a copyright which can help if there is a court case. For full information see the copyright office page. It is best to always indicate who the copyright holder is and the date the work was released.

  • I often see weird datablocks on the copyright page which look like cataloging material. However, there isn’t any reference to which catalog is referenced. Here’s an example:

    Group (e.g., Interplanetary voyages—Fiction
    I. Title. ______._______ ____

    Sometimes more information is included. What is this for, and should novelists who self-publish care?

    • Dale Youngman says:

      This sounds like the Cataloguing in Publication data. When you register your book for cataloguing in publication they will send back a block to be inserted on the copyright page. The format is fixed, and I agree, a bit ugly. Registering for CIP makes is easier for libraries to include your book and we do see a difference in library sales when it is included. In Canada, ISBN and CIP is handled by Library and Archives Canada. When working with PageMaster, we will help you with the paperwork as part of our publishing services.
      Keep writing.

  • Nick Davies says:

    Hi. Does it matter if the copyright/imprint page is at the front or the back of the book? I’d rather put it at the back, as I think it’s off-putting for the reader to have a page of legal stuff at the front. can I do this without it affecting my legal rights? Thanks.

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Technically you won’t affect your rights as there is no rule that says the notice has to be in a certain form. In Canada copyright is given even if you don’t give notice. We have had difficulty in tracking down the actual content owner to request copying permission. Make things clear and keep it simple.
      Tradition makes our life easier. Title and copyright page are traditionally the first front-matter pages and help the reader know what they are holding. Since it is expected, there isn’t any off-putting. We do want to know what we are reading and who it is from.
      On children’s books the title and copyright information is often combined. I will be adding an article on front matter.

  • Greg Gordon says:

    thanks for the helpful information. It is nice to know ISBN numbers are free in canada also.

  • JP Sven says:

    We have a scenario where we have licensed the original artwork and text from some childrens books that went out of print in the 1980s, with rights to create e-books. We have scanned the images, prepared the books in InDesign and are finally at the step of making the copyright page. Can we actually claim a copyright on the way we laid out the books, with an acknowledgement that the person we licensed from retains the copyright on the art and text?

    I am really unsure of how to proceed on that copyright page.

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Hi JP
      The work is copyright so a notice is important. The model is similar way to newspapers, magazines and anthologies where the creators retain copyright of their work but the full publication is copyright by the publisher. With your copyright notice also include the basics of your “used by permission” (Story and artwork by __ copyright by ___. used by permission). From a users or publishers point of view it is sometimes difficult to find who actually owns a work one may want to include in a project. The notice helps everyone know.
      Disclaimer: this is coming from a publisher perspective and is not legal advice.

  • Sylvia Gotlik says:

    Hello, great information here.
    Thank you.
    If I am the author of a book and paid for my illustrations to be created do I need to list both copyright statements on my book? (author, illustrator)
    I gave her specific pictures of my child and instructions on what is to be drawn on each page. I see some books list copyright © then author name and underneath copyright © illustrations and then artists name.

    Thank you kindly for your assistance!


    • Dale Youngman says:

      Hi Sylvia
      You should have a written agreement with the illustrator that indicates what rights have been transferred to you and what credits the illustrator is entitled to. It sounds like this commission was intended to be an outright purchase with potential residual rights to the illustrator for displaying in a portfolio or other limited uses and possibly a copy or two of the finished book. In that case you would hold the right to copy and probably don’t need to put an additional notice splitting the writing and illustrations – just copyright by Sylvia.
      Illustrations by __ should be on the copyright page and does help the illustrator get similar work. We often see joint projects where both author and illustrator are involved in the book and would retain individual rights and notices.

  • Mike says:

    If I want to mention an existing book in my book. Do I need permission from the author?

  • Daniel Wright says:

    Thank you so much for the amazing information that you have shared with us, indeed this article will surely help me in writing the right and perfect copyright page of my book will also share ii with my friends and family as well for their reference.

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