Posts Tagged ‘literary’

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.


 

 

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Contracts Companion for Writers ($19.95)

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

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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.

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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.

Sample Pub Industry Forms Added to New Forms eLibrary!

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Have you ever wondered what “standard” clauses should be in every literary agency or publishing agreement? Do you want to memorialize the rights and responsibilities of your literary project with your co-author or illustrator? Do you want to secure written permission to use a copyrighted song, picture or other protected literary or artistic work in your own?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then visit our eLibrary of Sample Forms and download the form that works best for your situation. Remember, these forms are not a substitute for actual legal advice for your matter and they are provided for informational purposes to help you go from writer to Literary Entrepreneur™!

Visit often as forms continue to be added on a weekly basis. All forms also appear in the Appendix and on CD-ROM in Contracts Companion for Writers.

Forms available or coming soon:

  • The Collaboration Agreement
  • The Work-Made-for-Hire Agreement
  • The Agency Agreement
  • The Publishing Agreement
  • Songwriting and Song Publishing Agreements
  • The Licensing Agreement
  • Permission Request
  • Release Form

Did you know? Copyright FAQs Asked & Answered!

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The Copyright Office offers introductory answers to frequently asked questions about copyright, registration, and services of the Office. Click on a subject heading below to view questions and answers relating to your selection. Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information at The Copyright Office Website.

More legal resources for writers and other creative folks from Legal Write Publications.