Free Sample Copyright Page for Educational Books

This post is basically my way of helping small publishers and self-publishers by sharing a free sample copyright page. After 6 years of publishing, I’ve developed a template for a book copyright page that covers the legal bases, helps deter intellectual property theft, gives readers the information they need if they want to reuse or adapt some part of your work, and also acknowledges other creators involved in your work.

You can copy my free sample copyright page and use it in its entirety, or take bits and pieces. You can also use it as a template to create a copyright page in your own words. Adapt it as you see fit. I would love it if you referred people to this post by linking or word-of-mouth. When people ask where you got the ideas for your brilliant copyright page for your textbook, feel free to send them to me! Just please do respect my intellectual property rights and copyright, and do not share or distribute the sample page on your site or pass it off as your own, please!

You can scroll down to the free sample copyright page text any time, but I do think it’s important to clear up some misconceptions. Copyright law is complicated and often open to interpretation. As with any point of law (in the US, at any rate), it’s impossible to say exactly what is a violation and what isn’t until a case goes to court. And hopefully, you’ll never have to go to court over copyright. When it comes to any question of using someone else’s intellectual property, I always recommend talking to a lawyer. When it comes to defending your own intellectual property (or that of your authors), I believe you should take as many steps as you reasonably can!

I sometimes get asked, “Is a copyright page legally required?” The simple answer is No (in the US). According to the US Copyright Office,  “Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” As soon as you make something, it’s copyrighted. But, there’s a big but:

BUT …

Lawsuits generally require that you show that you tried to protect your copyright in some way. And having a copyright page is a simple and free way to do just that. Like I said, take as many steps as you reasonably can to defend your copyright!

I’d also consider registering your copyright with the copyright office. It’s not too hard, or time-consuming, and it only costs $35!

That being said, what’s the minimum requirement for a copyright page?

 © 2022 Walton Burns. All rights reserved.

That’s it. The copyright symbol (or the word Copyright), the year of creation, and the name of the holder. I’m not totally sure you need the All rights reserved statement, but why would you exclude it.

Basically, this says you have the copyright to this work, and you don’t cede any rights (publishing, adaptation, translation, storage, distribution, etc…) to any one else. Including this is a signal that you are interested in defending those rights.

I like to add the ISBN numbers here for three reasons:

  1. It specifies exactly what is being copyrights because ISBN numbers are unique to each format and edition of a book.
  2. It lets people know if the book exists in other formats.
  3. The ISBN number is used by universities, book stores, and other retailers to order your book. I want them to be able to do that, and they expect to find it on the copyright page.

So I add:

ISBN: 1234567891234 (print)
             4321987654321 (EPUB)
             1112223334440 (Kindle) 

You’ll also sometimes see an enumeration of those rights, something like this:

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods.

This boilerplate language specifies some of the rights you have as the copyright holder. In this case, it specifically says no one can copy or distribute your book or any part of it. Notice that it doesn’t mean you lose any rights not specifically enumerated here, another common misunderstanding! This kind of text is great thing to have on your copyright page if you ever want to sue someone for pirating your works. It shows that you are taking a number of steps to protect your rights as copyright holder.

The problem is that most people gloss over boilerplate text and they may not understand overly technical language any way. So I like to put it in my own words so that people can understand it. It also helps to include an appeal to well-meaning people who might think it’s ok to throw your PDF worksheets in a teacher resource folder or photocopy half your book and give it away to their colleagues.  I sympathize with those teachers, particularly if they teach in settings where the administrators don’t provide teaching tools or a budget for buying books. So sometimes you need to explain clearly that that kind of behavior can jeopardize future sales, meaning it effectively takes income away from you, the author, and the publisher who in turn pays editors, designers, and other professionals.

Here’s my version:

This is not a photocopiable book. Our authors, editors, and designers work hard to develop original, high-quality content. They deserve compensation. Please respect their efforts and their rights under copyright law.

Do not copy, photocopy, or reproduce this book or any part of this book (unless the page is marked PHOTOCOPIABLE) for use inside or outside the classroom, in commercial or non-commercial settings. It is also forbidden to copy, adapt, or reuse this book or any part of this book for use on websites, blogs, or third-party lesson-sharing websites.

Now, it’s never a bad idea to carve out some exceptions. Notice that I already did add an exception for pages marked photocopiable, which your book may or may not have, There are many good reasons why you may give permission to someone to use part of your book.

The first reason you may want people to reproduce your copyrighted book is to quote it in reviews, articles, blog posts, or social media. Now, I doubt any one is going around suing book bloggers for quoting from their book, but just in case, it’s not a bad idea to modify that rights statement:

Do not copy, photocopy, or reproduce this book or any part of this book (unless the page is marked PHOTOCOPIABLE) for use inside or outside the classroom, in commercial or non-commercial settings, except for the use of brief quotations used in reviews. It is also forbidden to copy, adapt, or reuse this book or any part of this book for use on websites, blogs, or third-party lesson-sharing websites.

The second reason is you may want to give people permission to license your content. I was contacted by a woman writing a book of activities and she wanted to use an activity from my book, verbatim. We negotiated a reasonable fee and I was happy to give her permission. And sometimes I’m happy to give permission for free. An NGO teaching refugees in a camp in Africa wanted to use some of my lessons and I had no problem agreeing to let them at no cost.

So I add something like:

For permission requests, write to the publisher at “ATTN: Permissions”, at the address below:

ADDRESS
EMAIL
WEBSITE

This serves the double purpose of getting your address and website and email into the book, in case anyone wants to bulk order 100 copies of your book or hire you for a project or something else.

Since books often are the gateway to other things, you could add a statement such as:

Discounts on class sets and bulk orders available upon inquiry.

Walton Burns is available for author visits at your school, library, conference, or other events. For more information or to schedule a visit, please write to EMAIL.

If you do consulting work, add that instead or in addition! Now if you are a fulltime consultant or do lots of appearances, presentations, and training events, you might skip this on the copyright page. Instead add a page to the end matter with more detailed information about your services and how to get in touch.

You could stop here and have a nice little copyright page for your textbook or teacher resource book. However, it’s always a good idea to acknowledge the people who worked on your book. It builds goodwill and it helps them get future work. Many editors and designers actually require you to give credit so check your contracts. You might need to add editors, the interior designer and the cover designer.

Edited by NAME
Interior Design by NAME
Cover by NAME

or

Cover and Interior Design by NAME

Now, if you’re being smart you’ve sourced images that you have the right to use (See Where to get great illustrations for self-published books for some help on getting art for your book). However, many images still require acknowledgement and even if it’s not required, it’s never a bad idea. Again, it helps build goodwill and it’s something you’d want others to do. It’s hard to convince others to respect your copyright if you are taking shortcuts with other people’s.

So consider adding who created the image, the source, and if it’s not an image you purchased or licensed, add the license type. If you get permission from the creator directly, note that.

Cover Image, ARTIST / STOCKPHOTOSITE.COM
Image page 29, ARTIST / XYZSTOCKSITE.COM
Image page 42, ARTIST / SOURCE (Public Domain)
Image page 154, PHOTOGRAPHER / SOURCE (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Image page 203, ARTIST, Used by permission

If your book has a lot of images, consider doing a separate acknowledgements page. These are often found in the end matter.

We only have two more things to add. Country of Manufacture and First Printing. If you’re printing books yourself, add the country of manufacture. This is mainly for customs purposes, so you may not need it, but it’s easy to add and if you do sell foreign rights, or partner with a distributor abroad, you’re already covered.

If you’re doing Print-on-Demand, the printer adds it on the last page, so you can write “Country of Manufacture Specified on Last Page” on your copyright page. And since your POD books are available internationally, it’s a good thing to have.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to add the year of printing, something like:

First Printing 2022.

This establishes when the first edition was printed. If you do another print run, this number will not change so people know when the first edition came out. If you are doing print runs instead of POD, you can go the traditional route. Estimate how many print runs you think you will do, then add a row of numbers underneath. Start with 2 and go to your maximum number of runs. Print it centered and evenly spaced:

2 3 4 5 6 7

Every time you print a new run of books, delete one number. That way, the reader knows which print run the book came from and how many runs there might be in the future.

3 4 5 6 7

Note that there’s no special order for these elements to go in. I order them in a way that makes sense to me, but you may do things differently. You may also add other elements like a logo, a mailing list link, even a dedication. Others put these elements on different pages!

So take a look at my free copyright page sample, but also look at books similar to yours. See what elements they have on their copyright page. Feel free to leave a comment with your questions, your adaptations or your own copyright pages. Suggestions on helping people think before pirating your work are always helpful!

Free Sample Copyright Page for Educational Books

ISBN: 1234567891234 (print)
             4321987654321 (EPUB)
             1112223334440 (Kindle) 

Copyright 2019 AUTHOR NAME. All rights reserved.

This is not a photocopiable book. Our authors, editors, and designers work hard to develop original, high-quality content. They deserve compensation. Please respect their efforts and their rights under copyright law.

Do not copy, photocopy, or reproduce this book or any part of this book (unless the page is marked PHOTOCOPIABLE) for use inside or outside the classroom, in commercial or non-commercial settings, except for the use of brief quotations used in reviews. It is also forbidden to copy, adapt, or reuse this book or any part of this book for use on websites, blogs, or third-party lesson-sharing websites.

For permission requests, write to the publisher at “ATTN: Permissions”, at the address below:

ADDRESS
EMAIL
WEBSITE

Discounts on class sets and bulk orders available upon inquiry. 

Edited by NAME
Design by NAME

Cover Image, ARTIST / STOCKPHOTOSITE.COM
Image page 29, ARTIST / XYZSTOCKSITE.COM
Image page 42, ARTIST / SOURCE (Public Domain)
Image page 154, PHOTOGRAPHER / SOURCE (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Image page 203, ARTIST, Used by permission

Country of Manufacture Specified on Last Page


This free sample copyright page was originally published on Medium as: Copyright page for textbooks.

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