While majority of web users are honest people, you must accept that some people WILL try their best to steal your products.
For this reason, it's important that you take some measures to ensure that your product isn't being illegally copied and/or distributed.
In this article (the first of two on this subject) I'll look at issue of copyright protection.
In part two I'll be looking at practical measures you can take to prevent people from accessing your download pages or passing your ebook on to others
ESTABLISHING YOUR COPYRIGHT
This information is intended to act as an introduction to concept of copyright. Please be aware that I'm not a legal expert. If you've any doubts regarding copyright then you should seek legal advice.
Copyright is name given to protection of your 'right to copy' a published work.
When you own copyright to a work, you've right to reproduce any number of copies of that work in any way you choose. You can also grant copy rights to others.
Once you create a published work, your copyright to that work applies automatically. You do not need to formally register your copyright in order for your copyright of that work to legally exist. In fact, you do not even need to place a copyright statement on work.
Having said that, it's still a good idea to formally register your copyright.
In event that someone has stolen you work, having registered your copyright may entitle you to claim for compensation from offender. If you haven't formally registered work, then legally seeking compensation can be much more difficult.
For a closer examination of this important point, read this article by Mark Levine: http://www.clickandcopyright.com/why_copyright.htm
THE MINIMUM YOU SHOULD DO
If you are hesitant about paying fees to register your copyright, then there are still other measures you can take to make sure that world knows who owns your work (you should follow these steps EVEN if you DO register copyright).
You should include your copyright statement at bottom of every page of your book (and your website and everything else you create).
Including a copyright statement is no guarantee that your work will not be stolen. It's also no assurance that you'll be able to recover royalties or loss of earnings from someone who infringes your copyright.