Posts Tagged ‘copyright companion for writers’

Copyright Protection in the Digital Age

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

[© 2011 Tonya M. Evans. This post may be “shared socially” and republished provided this post is copied in its entirety and copyright and byline information is included for attribution. “This post is republished with permission from Copyright 2011 Tonya M. Evans”]

Protecting Your Work on the Internet

The question often arises as to how the Copyright Act applies to online works. As I’ve said, the Internet and other technological advances certainly do present numerous challenges to existing copyright law. And the law varies around the world but, thanks to the World Wide Web, information is accessible from every corner of the earth. But an online work is no different from its physical counterpart, except for the way the information is viewed or perceived. The same law presented in Copyright Companion for Writers and Literary Law Guide for Authors applies to works displayed and distributed on the Internet, despite the all-too-prevalent erroneous assumption that if it’s on the Internet it must be free for anyone and everyone to use.

Even though the same rights exist for physical and digital literary works, protecting your work on the Internet still presents a great challenge. This challenge persists because of the ease with which copyrighted works can be copied without distortion and distributed in the online context. Copyright law, as expanded by newer legislation like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, provides the legal framework necessary to help copyright owners enforce their copyrights online. The problem is that there is no uniform system in place on the Internet to actively police and protect the rights of copyright owners in order to prevent unauthorized copying; there is nothing online comparable to a store clerk who could stop someone who tried to copy pages of a book or magazine in their store or an usher in a movie theater who could stop someone who tried to record movies illegally during a showing.

But here’s a list of ways to reduce infringement of your material on the Internet and to encourage responsible uses:

  1. Include copyright notice (ex: 2011 Tonya M. Evans. All rights reserved) at the top of each post.
  2. Include clear instructions for permitted uses if you encourage copying, reposting and sharing socially. Also note whether your permission includes commercial or only non-commercial uses.
  3. Disable the copy + paste functions in your html code.

If you have a Word Press blog, you can use WP-CopyProtect plugin to disable right click in your blog.

For more ways to protect your copyright, check out the award-winning Copyright Companion for Writers, a comprehensive legal guide for writers written with the rights of writers and other creative folks in mind!



What Every Freelancer Should Know About Copyright

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Excerpt from Copyright Companion for Writers by Tonya M. Evans

What Every Freelancer Should Know about Copyright

© 2011 Tonya M. Evans

April 11, 2011

If you are a freelancer who submits an article, essay, poem, or other individual literary work to a collective work such as a magazine, newspaper, anthology, or Web site, then you need to understand your rights in your individual contribution before submitting your work – not after.

Contributing to a Collective Work

Copyright in your contribution to a collective work is completely separate and distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole, and vests initially in you as the author of the contribution. And unless you expressly transfer the entire bundle of rights that makes up copyright or of any of the individual rights in the bundle, the owner of copyright in the collective work is presumed to have acquired only the privilege of reproducing and distributing your contribution as part of that particular collective work, as well as any revision of that collective work, and any later collective work in the same series.

Of course, if you sign a contract that requires you to transfer some or all of your rights in your individual work to the publisher of the collective work, you should pay particular attention to whether the transfer is so comprehensive that it prevents even you from using your work for a certain period of time or forever. I cover these contractual issues in detail in my book Contracts Companion for Writers.

Know Your (Serial) Rights

When you transfer to a publisher the right to publish your work, you should spell out in writing exactly what rights the publisher has acquired. This doesn’t need to be a formal document – a series of e-mails confirming the arrangement is certainly acceptable. But whatever the method of memorializing the deal, it should be clear whether the publisher is acquiring first serial rights, second serial rights (also known as reprint rights), all rights, or whether the publisher has commissioned you to create a work as a work made for hire to be used in a collective work. (See the chart in Copyright Companion for Writers for more specifics about the similarities and differences for each grant or license of rights.)

Copyright Companion for Writers

Copyright Companion for Writers

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.

$19.95 + S/H