I should have waited before hastily posting my last blog. Ends up my publisher knew all the answers - next time I will go to him first. Here is Slush Pile Readers response:
so here's the deal:
An author of a text does not need to file copyright. An author automatically receives copyright when he or she writes a text. It is as easy as that. However, some people prefer filing for copyright just the same, to feel more secure. Some argue there are definite benfits, others argue it is unnecessary to file for copyright. Should there be legal issues down the road (someone plagiarizes your for for instance) it is of course always better to have your work registered and filed with the proper authorities.
When a book, or text, or website, is first published it is instantly protected by copyright. Just the same, some prefer filing so that if any dispute were ever to arise they can prove, by showing the filing date, that they have copyright. However, in this day and age it is easy to trace texts online. For instance if you search fro SPKG on google you find all the different versions that you have put up online. It will be very difficult for anyone else to claim they should have copyright to it: on SPR for instance we can trace the day you registered and when you put up SPKG. In sum, copyright is quite easy to prove these days. Besides, copyright infringements of texts is very rare (beside people copying snippets for uni. papers and articles, but that is something else) and really doesn't occur much, if at all.
On SPR we describe the copyright process and we end it by stating it is up to the author to file or not.
As to the time it can take, it depends on their workload: anything from a month to several months.
ISBN is like a social security number for books, a unique numeric identifier for a specific edition and variation of a book. ISBN is not per se necessary for e-books sold in a single outlet. If a book will be sold in many outlets in paper format it does needs an ISBN not to hamper sales. A publisher usually buys a big lot of ISBN numbers so they always have some handy and assigns them to the books they publish. When it is time SPR will take care of that for you! So you don't have to worry about it! If you want to find out more about ISBN you can check out www.isbn.org.
Hope that answers everything! If not, ask again,