Archive for the ‘contracts’ Category

The Dreaded Fear of Negotiation — It’s JUST Business!

Monday, June 27th, 2011

The most common fear authors have when faced with a deal is the dreaded fear of negotiation. In the spirit of not wanting to offend, many authors in first-time bargaining situations shy away from asking hard questions and requesting more favorable provisions.

Worse still, some authors are intimidated by the process and the documents. That, coupled with an author’s excitement over the possibility of any deal, after receiving so many rejections, is a dangerous mix that often spells trouble.

Authors do not want to challenge the agent or publisher because they do not want to be perceived as difficult or money hungry. But remember, this is a bottom-line business, and the operative word is “business.”


Copyright for Writers on the Internet

Monday, May 16th, 2011

[Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Copyright Companion for Writers © 2007 Tonya M. Evans. This excerpt may be “shared socially” and republished provided this post is copied in its entirety and copyright information is included for attribution]

Revisions and Updates

Problems of registration emerge when a Web site is updated frequently. The question arises as to whether it is necessary to register the site after each update. For individual works the answer, technically, is yes because there is no comprehensive registration to cover revisions published on different dates. Therefore, each daily update would have to be registered separately. As an attorney, I recommend that you do register each update to be fully protected. I recognize, however, that this would require much work, and I acknowledge that most people don’t follow this practice because they find it to be impractical. If you are like most people, then I suggest that you make it a practice to register your Web site every three months. If you do that, then you will be entitled to statutory damages and attorney fees if you ever have to sue someone for infringement. A different rule governs automated databases and serials because they qualify to use blanket registration (see below).

E-Newsletters and Other E-Serials

Electronic versions of newsletters and serials are also protected by copyright and can be registered with the Copyright Office in a single registration covering multiple issues published on different dates. Group registration is available for works published weekly or less often (serials) and for newsletters published daily or more often than weekly, including those published online. The requirements vary, depending on the type of work. See Copyright Office Circular 62 for more information on serials. Note that group registration is available only for collective works, such as a collection of articles or an anthology, and not for electronic journals published one article at a time.


The rules of copyright also apply to posts on blogs – both the blog owner’s posts and comments by visitors. The owner holds the copyright to the post, and visitors own the copyright to their comments. There seems to be at least some implied license granted by a commenter to the blog owner to display the comment, but it is not clear how far that implied license reaches. But this implied license does not work the other way; nonetheless, reports from blog owners about rampant cut-and-paste infringement from their blogs for unauthorized posting to other blogs are far too common, and present a troubling development in the blogosphere.

To protect your blog and yourself from potential infringement claims from bloggers, always post your copyright information and instructions on how bloggers can use your posts, if at all. At a minimum, require that the post be copied in full and that it keep your copyright information intact. You may also want to ask for a link back to your Web site or blog. Of course, you should also consider registering blog posts; if your blog is a regular series (i.e., serial), then follow the registration guidelines for e-serials.

Need more information?

Description: Through clear and concise explanations and dozens of useful forms, this manual debunks myths such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright” (aka the “mail-the-manuscript-to-yourself” theory of protecting copyright) and examines the difference between fair use and public domain, the definition of infringement and how to avoid it, how a writer may assert a claim, and how to obtain permissions to use copyrighted works such as song lyrics, pictures, and quotes. Also included in this edition is a chapter on Freelancers rights.




Copyright Companion for Writers ($22.95)

Contracts Companion for Writers ($19.95)

Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Plain Language ($22.95)

ALL FOR ONLY $44.95 (+ S/H)

Did you know? … Who owns what when you collaborate?

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

When two or more writers or other creative people collaborate to create a copyrighted work and intend that their individual contributions be combined into a single interdependent work, by default, all of the contributors share equally in ownership of the copyright. This is true even if the participants contribute different parts to the whole or exert unequal effort (as when a celebrity lends her name to a project but the writer actually creates the manuscript).

Of course, the collaborators can (and should) enter into a written agreement that details specifically who owns what; how much money (if any) each contributor will receive; who is responsible for what; what happens if a collaborator dies becomes disabled, or does not stay with the project to its completion; how the credits will appear; and in what name or names the copyright will be registered. Remember that unless the collaborators agree otherwise, they will all share joint ownership of the copyright.

[Excerpt from Contracts Companion for Writers]

Download a sample collaboration agreement

More important contracts for writers

Contracts Companion for Writers (sample forms, deal points, explanations and more!)

© 2010 Legal Write Publications.

Our biggest Twitter giveaway yet! Will give books for RTs!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Do you follow @LegalWritePub on Twitter? If not, now is a GREAT time to start! We are hosting our biggest online giveaway yet! 48 complimentary copies of Literary Law Guide for Authors to the first 48 Tweeps to RT (that’s Twitter speak for “Re-Tweet”) our special Twitter giveaway message.

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That special message will post sometime on Monday so head on over to and click FOLLOW to make sure you see the message and join our RT giveaway!

Did you know … Book Publishing Contract 101

Monday, November 15th, 2010

A publishing agreement (also referred to as a book deal or contract) is a legal arrangement between an author and publisher. In a traditional publishing arrangement, the author agrees to transfer to the publisher certain rights in the bundle of rights associated with her copyrighted manuscript, and the publisher agrees, in turn, to pay for the costs to publish the manuscript. In exchange, both parties receive some financial gain.

The publisher recoups the initial investment and part of the sales and licensing revenue. The author often receives an advance against royalties and a percentage of royalties and subsidiary rights income.

Click here to download a sample agreement and other industry agreements. Also available in Contracts Companion for Writers.