Can I do small changes after the copyright of a novel?

My changes includes grammatical error, sentence reformation and fixing logical errors?

  • 3
    See "How to succeed on the first time", second edition.
    – kikirex
    Apr 8, 2018 at 20:18
  • What do you mean by "after the copyright"? Are you talking about registration (presumably in the US, as most other countries don't have a copyright registration process), or something else?
    – Jules
    Apr 8, 2018 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


You can make minor changes to a copyright-registered work, such as fixing typographical errors.

If you do a heavy revision, such as adding new chapters or completely rewriting certain parts, copyright law considers this a derivative work, and you will have to register copyright for this revision to have the changes covered by copyright law.

To make this more clear: The problem with changes to your text is not that you lose copyright to your work by these changes. You don't. Everything that remains unchanged is still registered with the copyright office. The problem is that the changes aren't covered by the registration of the original, so if someone steals them you cannot prove you wrote them.

Also note, that this question and answer only apply to the United States. Registering copyright is unnecessary and impossible in any other legislation.

  • how could someone steal something that's 90% your copywrited work? Just take the one new out of place chapter as their own? And I thought in the US everything was automatically protected just by the virtue of existing
    – Andrey
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:16
  • 1
    @Andrey In all countries that have signed the Berne convention, including the United States, everything that you have written is automatically protected by copyright. But the US are special in that without registering your work it is virutally impossible to prove your authorship in a court of law. Outside the US, a revised work is still your work and protected by copyright. The changes are completely irrelevant from a copyright point of view. Not so in the US.
    – user29032
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:42
  • that's very interesting. I always assumed my google doc with timestamps was proof. Thanx for the info
    – Andrey
    Apr 9, 2018 at 15:57
  • 1
    @Andrey Small parts of a work can be stolen. For example, 20th Century Fox, copyright holder for Star Wars, sued Universal Studios for stealing the character "Skywalker" as "Skyler". If George Lukas had changed Skywalker's name in a revision and failed to register the copyright for his revision, Universal Studios would have gotten away with their copyright infringement.
    – user29032
    Apr 9, 2018 at 16:02

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