Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Is your US copyright valid in other countries?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The US Copyright advises that the United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each others citizens’ copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country.

For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

For more information on copyright and how it impacts your literary rights

Copyright Companion for Writers

Read 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 www.legalwritepublications.com. 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!

 

 

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.

Blogs

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.


 

 

3-BOOK SPECIAL

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)


Music Copyright 101

Wednesday, April 27th, 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]

Music and Copyright

In previous posts, I have focused mostly on literary creations in the publishing industry (books, articles, magazines, and so forth). But copyright in a song (whether lyrics, music, or both) is created in the same way as in any other literary or artistic work. And music copyright is made up of the same bundle of rights, which includes the right to publish.

What Music Publishing Is All About

Unless you are already a well-known songwriter, it will be a challenge to commercially exploit your music without the help of a music publisher, one who licenses your songs to others for flat fees or royalties so that your songs get recorded or played or synchronized in TV and film and so forth. Performance royalties are all right, but music publishing, if properly managed, is really where the money is in the music industry.

Music publishing can be big business. It is also confusing to many songwriters who tend to focus on the creative aspects of writing rather than the business and legal sides. Essentially, there are two potential income streams involved in songwriting: first is the songwriter’s share as the creator and copyright owner, and second is the publisher’s share for the person or company that actually enables the song to be released to the public (i.e., to be published). This has been explained in the past as the two “pies,” where the total percentage of income is 200 percent (each of the pies equaling 100 percent). This explanation is somewhat outdated and only adds to confusion. Others explain the writer’s share as 50 percent of the revenues and the publisher’s share as the other 50 percent.

Regardless of how you slice it (pun intended), in general, songwriters transfer some percentage (or all) of the copyright to the publisher, and keep the entire songwriter’s share of income and none (or very little) of the publisher’s share. The percentage of copyright transfers affects the way money is split between you and the publisher.

If you do a co-publishing deal in which you (or the publishing company that you form) team up with an established publisher, then you will most likely transfer 50 percent of the copyright to the publisher, keep the entire writer’s share of revenues, and split the publisher’s share of revenues fifty-fifty. Or you may be in a strong negotiating position and opt for an administration deal, in which case you will control copyright and keep all of the songwriter’s share, all (or most) of the publisher’s share, and simply pay to the company an administrative fee for handling the business of exploiting and managing your copyrights.

Click here for more information about copyright

Click here for music publishing sample forms

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

[BUY NOW]