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How Do You Protect Your Information Products? Part 2

Author:Lamar Ross

Apart from the copyright, registration of an information product by the author through nationally and internationally recognized "serial" (identification) numbers provides a second line of defense.

These include ISBN numbers (for books); ISSN numbers for periodicals (both printed and electronic); and ESN's (for electronic media). These three are not the only "serial" numbers in use, but are the most common ones. Each provides some degree of protection for the author by registering the information product under the publisher or author's name.

Each acts like a social security number for a book, periodical, or electronic media, specifically identifying the work and tying it to an author or publishers. Let's take each serial number in turn and briefly tell what it is for, how to obtain it, and how to use it on your information products.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number). This number is used as a specific identifier of an individual book. It can also be used for a particular issue of a periodical, or digital books in PDF or HTML formats. It is only available to publishers (you, of course, can become an independent publisher) from R.R. Bowker. in the United States. You must purchase a minimum of ten (10) ISBN numbers. There is generally no requirement for a publisher to assign an ISBN number to a book, but you would be hard pressed to find one who does not. Most book stores will not deal with items without an ISBN. The numbers are coded for the publisher who purchased them, and any and all business and trade related to that book will always be linked to that publisher and his business information. The ISBN specifically identifies a particular item. A hardcover and a softcover issue of the same book would therefore have a different ISBN number. Your publisher can provide the specific locations for the ISBN placement on your printed publication. You can contact Bowker for details.

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number). This eight-digit number is used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication. Unlike the ISBN, the ISSN contains no information as to the publisher or location. Rather, it is an anonymous identifier associated with a periodical title. So, if a periodical undergoes a major title change, it would receive a new ISSN. It is assigned to the periodical as a whole. For a particular issue of a periodical, an ISBN number might be assigned in addition to the ISSN number. The ISSN number is free and is available through application in the U.S. from the National Serials Data Program of the Library of Congress. You may get further detailed information on ISSN's at the U.S. ISSN Center. Most online periodicals are now including the ISSN on their web sites. It results in accurate citing of serials, serves as a standard numeric identification code for library ordering, interlibrary loan systems, and is an integral component of the journal article citation system. All infopreneur newsletters should consider using this identification number.

ESN (Electronic Serial Number). This nineteen digit number is also referred to as an ESBN (Electronic Standard Book Number) or a Numly Copyright. This number combines some of the attributes of a copyright (date and time of submission to is registered) and the identification benefits of the ISBN and ISSN. It is specifically designed for electronic media. A Numly number identifies a single downloaded or digital issue of electronic media. It is used with digital assets such as websites, blogs, e-books, music, images, cd's, and source codes and is like a social security number for a work published online. The number is free. To register for a Numly Number, an account must be created online at After your digital asset is registered, the Numly Number is immediately generated. An URL is also generated for verification of your submission by others. The Numly Number is not recognized by the International Organization for Standards (ISO) as are the ISBN and the ISSN, but appears to hold much promise for adding a degree of protection to electronic assets.

Author SIG

Lamar Ross is an author, educator, photographer, internet entrepreneur, and international traveler. Check out his site for more information on becoming a webinfopreneur. His favorite webinfopreneur niche is providing training materials for individuals interested in expatriate living. He has lived in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and India and has traveled extensively in 29 different countries. He speaks both English and Spanish fluently and has a basic ability in several other languages.

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