Say I'm from the USA and I write a book and don't publish it yet. Then I send it to a friend in Russia for proof reading, but instead he publishes my book over there under his own name.

Am I legally covered? Can I sue him for breaking copyright? Can he sue me if I publish the book afterwards in the USA? What about if he's from a third world country that doesn't have copyright laws?

And how about if I want to publish my book in Germany instead of the USA (since I believe there is a wider audience there for my book and I know German) but am not a citizen there. Do I have to register my copyright there or is it enough to register it in the USA?

P.S. Sorry if this question is of a more legal nature and should be asked somewhere else. Just point me where to and I'm gone.

1 Answer 1


I don't know if this is the right place for this question. But broadly speaking, in any country that is part of the Berne Convention on copyright, your book is automatically copyright as soon as you write it. Registering the copyright in the US, and possibly other countries, grants you further protection. Your copyright extends to all the other countries, I think (IANAL), but in countries where your copyright isn't recognized you would have no recourse if someone else published it. However, your copyright claim in the US would still prevent your Russian "friend" from publishing in the US, and possibly elsewhere, but you'd have to sue in each country, probably.

  • I understand. So if I register my copyright in a country part of the Berne Convention, then that copyright is valid in all countries part of it. Thank you for the clarification!
    – Rex Feral
    Aug 26, 2015 at 5:44
  • In many countries, you are not required to register the copyright. You own the copyright as soon as you write the text. Registering may help in a lawsuit. Aug 26, 2015 at 7:53

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