I started my MS in 2002, finished it this year. Should the copyright date on the title page be 2002 or 2006? I'd always thought 2002 -- but if I sent it to agents with a 2002 copyright date, does this make it look like the MS has been doing the rounds for four years?
Ok, think about this: Joe Schmoe writes a book, his agent sells it (hooray!) and Shmandom House will publish it in Fall 2007. He finished it and handed it in to his editor in April, 2006. What will the Copyright page of his finished book say?
The answer is 2007. The copyright date reflects the year the book was published.
And please note: You do not need to write "Copyright 200X" on your manuscript. It's not really legally binding, as far as I know, and I doesn't matter to me one way or the other what year you wrote it. And frankly, if you send it to one of those evil, lecherous agents who poaches ideas from their slush piles, (who I think is right back there with the guy who'll cut your Achilles tendon in the parking lot from under your car, and people who go wading through trash to hunt up your old credit card junk mail) your idea will be long gone and "exploited" before you might find out, leaving your "copyright" pretty useless after the fact. Keep an eye on your manuscript, protect your work, but don't stress over the copyright.
The Truth About Copyright
Posted by You Don't Know Me at 2/17/2006 09:32:00 AM