Tag Archives: rights

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Rights

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copyrightThis is an article from Writers Digest that I wanted to share with you.  Have a blessed day.  Shirley

Most writers I know fall into 1 of 2 camps: people who are (overly) concerned that someone will steal their work, and innocents who don’t take time to learn what rights they ought to be protecting.

So I’d like to outline the 5 things every writer should know about their rights (and, by extension, other people’s rights).

  1. Your work is protected under copyright as soon as you put it in tangible form.

Your work doesn’t need to be published to be protected, and you do not have to display the copyright symbol on your manuscript to have it protected. (One of the reasons there is so much confusion surrounding this issue is that the law changed in the 1970s.)

Since your work is copyrighted from the moment you create it, the existence or validity of your copyright will not be affected if you don’t register the work with the U.S. Copyright Office. (And, in fact, you can register the work after you find infringement and still be afforded all the protections as if you had registered it earlier.)

  1. For shorter works (non-books), publications automatically acquire one-time rights unless specified otherwise in the contract.

The current law puts the burden on the publication to notify the author in writing if it wants to acquire any rights other than one-time rights (that is, the right to publish the work one time). The law also contains termination provisions that allow an author to regain rights she assigned to others, after a specific period.

  1. Your work cannot accidentally fall into the public domain.

Any published or distributed material on which a copyright has expired is considered to be in the public domain—that is, available for use by any member of the general public without payment to, or permission from, the original author.

It used to be that your work might accidentally fall into the public domain if not protected under copyright or published with the copyright symbol. This is not the case any longer.

  1. Selling various rights to your work doesn’t affect your ownership of the copyright.

Various rights are all part of your copyright, but selling them in no way diminishes your ownership of the actual work. The only way you can give up copyright entirely is if you sign a contract or agreement that stipulates it is a “work for hire.”

  1. You can quote other people’s work in your own work, without permission, as long as you abide by fair use guidelines.

The downside here is that there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what constitutes fair use of a copyrighted work.

The law says that four factors should be considered in determining if a use is fair:

the purpose and character of the use (commercial vs. not-for-profit/educational)

the nature of the copyrighted work

the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the entire quoted work

the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the quoted work

Most publishers have their own fair-use guidelines that they ask their own authors to abide by. But, if you’re picking up only a few hundred words from a full-length book, it’s probably fair use. Always be extremely careful when quoting poetry or song lyrics—ANY use at all usually requires permission (and a fee).

For more authoritative info on this topic, I highly recommend signing up for an online educational session next week, with lawyer Amy Cook, who specializes in publishing law. You’ll be able to ask questions live: Copyright and Contracts

Alternatively, you can read more from these authoritative sources:

By: dmatriccino

The Four Letter Word

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san diego chargers

Image via Wikipedia

I was reading an article today about a man who is suing the city of San Diego for the right to yell profanities at sporting events.  Apparently he was thrown out of a Chargers game for the use of the four letter word, which violated his freedom of speech.  Apparently the NFL has a ban on the use of profanity by the fans.

First off, why isn’t he suing the NFL since it’s their rule, but secondly and most important to me is the fact that the word has become so prevalent in use, that some people don’t have a problem with it.  I was raised being taught that was the filthyest word that could come out of someone’s mouth.  I saw my father knocked out of a kitchen chair one night by my uncle, because Dad was drinking and let that word pass his lips.  My Uncle laid him out because he said it in front of me.  The time was the mid 1950’s. That made an impression on a very young girl.  You know I never heard it again pass my dad’s lips.

My children were raised not to use that language around me or any of the family.  What my son said out of my earshot I do not know.  He is now 41 years old and curses with the best of them, but he does not use that word around me.  He knows I would be all over him. I used to be really shocked when I heard it in use, but not any more. It is so common  in speech and the written word, I guess I adapted.  I’m still greatly offended but I don’t flinch anymore.

Why should I have to listen to someone when I go to a public place because they was not taught the basics of good behavior in public.  Let me know how you feel about it.  Do you think the man in San Diego has a case, or should it be thrown out? (I know it won’t be, but I can hope.)