Artistic works are copyrighted by default, of course. However, filing an official copyright application confers additional benefits. But does one have to wait until a copyright application has been processed and the person who filed it duly notified, or can one submit an application in, say, late November 2023, then publish your book(s) on December 1?

To put it another way, if one submits an official copyright application, then publishes the book before being notified that your copyright has been accepted and filed, does one risk voiding the copyright or creating other problems?

1 Answer 1


Copyright is vested in the first owner upon creation (more precisely, fixation1) of an original work.

Publishing before the copyright registration is completed does not diminish the copyright.

However, any acts that depend on the benefits of registration would need to wait for registration to be complete. E.g. in the United States, the copyright owner cannot file a lawsuit to enforce or protect its copyrights until the U.S. Copyright Office has issued a registration.

1. And for Canada, see Wikipedia: Fixation in Canadian Copyright Law.

  • 2
    +1 In the United States, we define "creation" as the time when the work is first fixed to a tangible medium, e.g., paper, canvas, film, hard drive, etc.
    – bdb484
    Nov 7, 2023 at 20:35
  • I see. So, if I publish a book before the application process is complete and someone infringes on my copyright the next day, then my legal recourse may be somewhat diminished. However, any copyright infringement that occur after the copyright registration is finalized is at my mercy.
    – Paredon
    Nov 7, 2023 at 21:16
  • 2
    No that is incorrect, you didn't understand the answer. In the U.S. you can publish, be illegally copied by someone, then file for copyright and then sue. Nov 7, 2023 at 22:37

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