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copyright, ISSN, ISBN

COPYRIGHT, ISSN, and ISBN………Clearing the Confusion

Writing an articles is definitely not an easy thing to do, it requires lots of knowledge, background about the subject of the article, understanding the criteria of writing- what must be included in an article and what shouldn’t be included, and most importantly inspiration. Aside from all the worries that researchers face while writing an article, the copyright which is the mean of protecting articles, books, or any intangible thing is a whole different issue.


Copyrights are the legal means that grant the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. Copyrights are protected by the law of a country, and is usually for a specific period of time. The rights are exclusive not absolute, they are determined by the limitations and criteria of the copyright law.

Copyrights are a form of intellectual property (IP); therefore, it is protected by the WIPO- World Intellectual Property Organization- which help inventors to earn recognition of what they create or invent.

Throughout the world Copyrights protect works including:

  • literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspaper articles;
  • computer programs, databases;
  • architecture;
  • advertisements, maps, and technical drawings;
  • artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture; and
  • films, musical compositions, and choreography.

The phrase “All rights reserved” is used to illuminate the copyrights of the author- the owner of article, book, or any original work.

The legal date at which the right to reproduce and sell a work is registered is referred to as the “Copyright date”.


ISSN is the abbreviation of International Standard Serial Number, it’s an 8-digit code used to identify all kinds of journals, magazines, newspapers, periodicals, annual publications (reports, directories, lists, etc.), collections, websites, databases, blogs, and so on, placed on all media whether printed or electronic.

The ISSN is related to the title of the publication. If the publication is modified significantly, a new ISSN must be assigned. It is a digital code without any substantial meaning, as it doesn’t include any information concerning the origin or contents of the publication, nor a guarantee to quality or validity of the contents.

ISSN is mandatory for all types of publications in many countries, and if a publication is identified by ISSN and ISBN, both identifiers should be mentioned.

The ISSN is mostly written in the form of the abbreviation ISSN followed by two sets of four digits, separated by a hyphen. The eighth digit is a check digit calculated according to a modulus 11 algorithm on the basis of the 7 preceding digits; this eighth control digit could be an “X” in case that the result of the computing is equal to “10”, in order to avoid any ambiguity.

For a print publication, the ISSN is preferably in the upper right corner of the cover, while for a publication in electronic media, the ISSN is placed on the homepage or on the main menu, if it is an online publication.


It refers to the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), which is a 13-digit number assigned by standard book numbering agencies to facilitate, and control activities within the publishing industry. ISBNs used to be 10 digits until the end of 2006. The ISBN is relevant to one book merely, therefore in case that one book has more than one edition, then each edition will have its own ISBN, as well if a book has one digital format or more, then each format will have its own ISBN.

The difference between the 10 digits ISBN and the 13 digits ISBN is related to whether it’s assigned on or after the first of January 2007, so the ISBN is of 10 digits if assigned prior to 2007, and a 13 digits if assigned after 1 January 2007.

The ISBN consists of 4 parts if it is a 10 digits ISBN, and 5 parts if it is a 13 digits ISBN. As well the issuance of an ISBN is specific to each country.


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