It is not required for an author to register your work or even provide a notice. But… there are reasons to protect yourself and what you created.
Copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work in any form. And in most countries, a work – such as literature, music or software – is automatically protected as soon as it is created. Excluded are ideas, titles, names, facts and short phrases.
However, proving your claim may be a very difficult matter without proper evidence. Often it boils down to a case of “their word against yours”. Without proper protection, work that you have created, could end up making money for someone else.
Claims in US Courts:
• If you have registered your work before infringement, you can collect Statutory Damages plus attorney fees.
• If you registered after infringement, but before filing suit, you can only sue for Actual Damages – which you have to demonstrate.
Content of Copyright Notices in Your Book:
• The symbol © or the word “Copyright”
• The year of first publication of the work
• The name of the owner or creator
Where to Submit
Canada: online to the Copyright Office, Canadian Intellectual Property Office Web site
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca (fee Can $50)
USA: online to the U.S. Copyright Office, via the Library of Congress
http://www.copyright.gov (fee US $ 35)
United Kingdom: online UK Copyright Service
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk (online registration are £39.00 for 5 years or £64.00 for 10 years per work. Uploads over 10MB are subject to a fee of 3p per additional MB)
Copyright registrations become effective the day on which application and payment are received at the office, but it may take months until you receive the certificate.
Canadian Guide to Copyright
UK Copyright Law