Copyright protects any original work of authorship that is in tangible form, regardless of whether or not there is a notice of copyright on the work. Original expressions may include literature, musical works, paintings, sculpture, audiovisual works, sound recordings, or architectural works. Tangible form may include anything written on paper, saved to disk(web pages, graphics on web, electronic mail messages or computer programs), or saved on any audio/video device.Read full article.
I recently reviewed a manuscript of a non-fiction, semi-scholarly work analyzing images of historical prophesy (tarot) cards. The author explained that she wanted to illustrate her book with copies of cards and photographs of ancient artifacts to demonstrate thematic links to the images on the cards. The cards are mostly of ancient provenance, although some are more recently created modern interpretations of prophetic images.Read full article.
The copyright of a work produced by an employee in the course of her employment is owned by her employer. The copyright of a work produced by an independent contractor is either owned by her or, if it is a work made for hire, it is owned by the contracting party.Read full article.
A number of Guild members have asked me about the Google Settlement. Those who opted in saw an opportunity for revenue. Those who did nothing probably did not understand that by letting the deadline pass amounted to an opting out.Read full article.
A number of Legal Corner readers have asked me about the meaning of "electronic rights." There are two fundamental questions: What are electronic rights? And, Should an author grant or retain them?Read full article.
Traditional publishers produce, distribute and market books at their own expense. Print on demand companies offer editorial, design and publishing services or are printers disguised as publishers. These "publishers" are in the business of fulfilling whatever sales demand the author is able to generate through her own marketing efforts.Read full article.
Publishers care about the genre of the works they agree to publish. What is being licensed (what the author/licensor is granting) is spelled out in an opening provision of the contract and is a material term. How does this apply to memoir?Read full article.
A literary agent acts as an author's sole and exclusive representative in selling her work to a publisher. She has contacts in the publishing industry and usually specializes in particular genres. The standard agent's commission is 15%.Read full article.
Most publishing contracts provide for both the establishment of the author/publisher relationship and its termination. Why should an author be concerned with the “out of print” clause if it rings the death knell of the book with that publisher?Read full article.
The U.S. Constitution grants to authors and inventors for “limited times ... the exclusive right to their respective writing and discoveries.” Fair use is an exception to a copyright holder’s right to exclusive use of an original work and works derived from it. The Fair Use privilege is embodied in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.Read full article.
The provisions in a publishing contract (and what is negotiated out or modified) cannot be more important in launching your book and whether it is successfully distributed. The author receives a contract that reflects the publisher’s legal position; not yours. Contracts establish the rights and obligations of the parties and have to be scrutinized carefully.Read full article.
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