5 Top Legal Issues for Authors and Self-Publishers

by Joel Friedlander on March 8, 2013 · 52 comments

Post image for 5 Top Legal Issues for Authors and Self-Publishers

by Sara Hawkins

I met Sara on Google+, where I seem to be spending more and more time lately. When I realized that she was both an attorney and someone who understands the world of bloggers, online publishers, and authors, I asked her to write an article that would highlight legal issues authors face, and how those issues affect self-publishers. Here’s her response.



As an author, you probably don’t often consider many legal issues about writing your book. Sure, there’s the contract with the publisher, designer, or copyeditor. Traditionally, for most authors there just weren’t many legalities to consider. That was until traditional book authorship and publishing met the internet and created their lovechild called self-publishing.

We all know the publishing industry has changed. One of the biggest changes is that unless you’re an A-list author you’re responsible for much more in the writing, editing, promoting, as well as publishing process than in the past.

Fewer people shepherding a book in the traditional publishing industry means authors no longer have legions of experts to comb through their manuscript. One thing that can be counted on is that the publisher will have their legal department check your book out before it’s printed.

Not that authors are sued all the time, but when you take the route of self-publishing you also take on the liability that comes with the various legal issues. Most authors, though, aren’t lawyers. You’re experts in your own field or creative-types who spend countless hours developing characters and settings to create an authentic experience for the reader. Navigating the legal hurdles of publishing is now something authors must be concerned with.

Authors are likely aware of the basics of copyright when it comes to their book—they write the book, they own the copyright. But there are a few other key legal concerns that can greatly impact authors and self-publishers throughout the entire process, from conceiving the idea to all the subsequent updates, from pre-marketing to post-publication marketing. And while many authors may not initially see themselves as self-publishers, the changing landscape of the publishing world may eventually lead you down that road. Even if you do go the route of traditional publishing, you will likely still need to have a digital presence, which comes with a host of legal issues that you’ll want to know.

5 Top Legal Issues for Authors and Self-Publishers

1. Copyright of images and graphics

Basic copyright law says that if you create it then you own it. Yes, there are exceptions and nuances, but for the most part you can do whatever you wish with your own creations. However, as an author you may want to add graphics and images to enhance your story or your discussion and it’s easy to turn to the internet to find something you think would work perfectly.

Unfortunately there isn’t a clear-cut statement of whether an author can or can not use an image or graphic found online through a basic browser search. In typical lawyer form I say “maybe”. But that doesn’t help you much. No one wants to publish a book thinking they might get sued.

Today there are many resources where authors can find public domain images and graphics, but as with all things internet it’s up to the user to ensure that the work is indeed in the public domain and freely usable. That may be difficult if your source is a search engine, so using reliable sites can offer some peace of mind.

In addition to public domain images, creative commons licenses are another way to source images and graphics. But, again, you need to know what each of the licenses means and choose images that permit commercial use. If you can’t get permission and there is no Creative Commons or public domain work suitable for your needs, your next avenue is to determine if you can use another’s work under the Fair Use doctrine.

Fair Use is an exception to copyright infringement and allows a third party to use a copyrighted work under very specific circumstances. Unfortunately, there is no checklist or strict reading of this law, creating challenges for many authors. Since you may not have the counsel of a publisher, you’ll need to read up on this concept and determine if your use would fit the guidelines. Commercial works may have a claim of Fair Use, however as with all Fair Use claims it is a case-by-case determination.

2. Copyright of text and music lyrics

The discussion for copyright of text and music lyrics is similar to that of images and graphics, but they are not exactly parallel. With a graphic or image, you’re likely using the entire work, whereas with text or music lyrics you’re only using a portion. It is much more clear that using an entire text or reproducing the full music lyrics would violate copyright, the question now becomes how much can be used so that you’re not.

Traditional publishers may have guidelines, but they’re also willing to defend them if challenged. For self-published authors, being sued for using “too much” of a work may not be a risk worth taking.

Of course, there is still the ability to ask for a license before using the work if you are concerned with the legalities of using copyrighted material. There is, also, Fair Use. However, as was mentioned with regard to images and graphics, it’s not a clearly defined exception.

Unlike the discussion above, though, with text or music lyrics you’re likely only using a portion of the work so there is a stronger argument with regard to the quantity of the work used. Nonetheless, Fair Use goes beyond just a “word count” and you must be able to establish that your use does not interfere with the owner’s rights.

3. Registration of your copyright

While Joel has addressed what has to be on the copyright page of your book, some of you may wonder if you have to actually take that next step and register your copyright. This is one of the areas where most lawyers will agree that the small fee is definitely worth paying. While it’s not required, because copyright of your book exists without registration, to pursue most legal action the work must be registered.

4. Use of brand names and trademarks

In a fiction work, your characters are three-dimensional and may live in the same world we inhabit, with all of the brands and trademarks we’re familiar with. It makes sense that your heroine wears Prada or your leading man is sporting a Purple Label tux, but what do the brands think?

There are several legal theories in trademark that come in to play, “trademark infringement”, “trademark dilution” and “trademark tarnishment”. The most significant concerns for authors are with “dilution” and “tarnishment”. Xerox has been mounting a fight for decades to prevent all photocopying from being referred to as “xeroxing”, as has Kimberly-Clark been concerned with all facial tissues being generically referred to as “Kleenex”.

More recently, Google has brought in their legal team to prevent their trademark from becoming an equivalent to the default word for searching the internet. Using a trademark, whether registered or not, to describe a product or service generically can draw attention to your work and create potential liability. Brand names should be reserved for describing that particular product or service offered by the company.

When it comes to using a brand name in a negative light, authors walk a very fine line. Brand “tarnishment” is akin to defamation, and disparaging use of a brand name is often easier to find as publishing moves to the ebook and audiobook formats. Unless there is a compelling artistic reason to disparage a brand, creating a fictional brand would be prudent. If, however, you feel your story would be compromised without using the actual brand name, seek counsel to evaluate the risks and determine how best to minimize them.

5. What if it’s your work that’s taken?

Without a big publisher behind you, policing your copyright adds to your post-publication duties. If you’ve taken the steps to register your work, enforcing your copyright through the court system is a little easier. Often the difficulty comes in identifying that your work has been copied, but with a well-established community it’s likely one of your readers or supporters will spot the infringement and bring it to your attention. Then what?

For many, the first step is to contact the author (and/or publisher) and tell them they’re violating your copyright. Depending on how much of your work has been taken; you may want to speak to an attorney to find out the best way to approach the author and/or publisher of the allegedly infringing work. If your work has not been registered yet, and the alleged infringement is significant, registering your work should be done immediately.

One of the benefits of online booksellers is you can avail yourself of the DMCA takedown process, which does not require that your work be registered, if you have a good faith belief your work is being infringed. The reporting process is often incorporated into larger bookseller websites, making it easy to report violation and have the allegedly offending book taken down.

Unfortunately, this DMCA takedown process must be repeated for every site promoting the sale or distribution of the allegedly infringing book. In addition, there is the confrontation factor when you have to notify the person whose work you allege is infringing.

In addition to the DMCA takedown process you may likely need to work with the traditional route of copyright infringement notification. Speaking with a Copyright enforcement attorney may be necessary, although you may be able to resolve the matter without escalating it and involving an attorney.

Regardless of whether the book is a physical or electronic publication, it is a multi-step process to getting the book taken down from sale sites, notifying a publisher, contacting the author, and submitting a takedown request to a hosting company if an author is hawking the book on their site.

Conclusion

Part of learning is making mistakes. Unfortunately, with self-publishing mistakes the consequences can be quite harsh. Few people set out to purposely infringe another’s work. But it happens. Authors are not often versed in the nuances of copyright law and may unwittingly find themselves on the wrong end of a copyright infringement conversation.

As authors look to extend their reach beyond a single book, a single act of copyright infringement can be a turn-off to a traditional publisher, movie agent, movie studio, or speaker’s bureau. A self-published author’s credibility is tied into more than just the words of their book.

Whereas an author who is working with a traditional publisher may have multiple checks along the way, self-publishing requires you to wear many more hats. No one is expecting you to become a lawyer along this path. However, understanding just a few legal topics means making more informed choices, avoiding potential liability, and being able to act quickly to protect your rights.

Disclosure: This article and any associated comments are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Photo: bigstockphoto.com

self-publishing lawSara Hawkins is the creator of a Blog Law series, which aims to help bloggers, entrepreneurs, and online professionals gain legal confidence. Sara is a licensed attorney providing counsel to entrepreneurs and online professionals. She can be found on Twitter at @Saving4Someday.

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    { 47 comments… read them below or add one }

    Ernie Zelinski March 8, 2013 at 1:18 am

    “I can’t do no literary work for the rest of this year because I’m meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant.”
    — Mark Twain

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Ernie, I’m always amazed at how pertinent Mark Twain’s musings are all these years later.

    Thanks for reading,
    Sara

    Reply

    Athena Chan March 8, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Thanks for the article.
    Quick question:
    If I uses a short poem by e e cummings, where/who would I contact to receive permission to use the poem?
    Thanks in advance

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Athena,

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

    From a quick search, I found that Liveright Publishing may manage the e.e. cummings copyright trust. Here’s a link – http://books.wwnorton.com/books/affiliatecontent.aspx?id=24633.

    ~ Sara

    Reply

    Athena Chan March 8, 2013 at 8:27 am

    thank you :-)

    Reply

    carol brill March 8, 2013 at 4:28 am

    Thank you for Another timely post for me. In my current WIP, there’s a scene where the Beatles, Eight Days a Week comes into play. I’ve wondered just how much of the lyric I can safely include, and whether it would be better to just reference the title, assuming most readers will know the song and understand the relevance…um!

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Carol, glad to know the article was timely for you. Sony/ATV (a joint venture between Sony and the late Michael Jackson) own most of the rights to music from the Beetles. They do license and from their site you can submit requests to: info@sonyatv.com

    ~ Sara

    Reply

    carol brill March 9, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Thank you Sara, that’s above and beyond :) I appreciate your help. carol

    Reply

    Patrick Jones March 8, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Great article, Joel. Thank you for the information from Sara Hawkins.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 7:38 am

    You’re welcome, Patrick.

    Reply

    chris March 8, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Here is the FAQ’s page for registering for a copyright…
    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html

    Reply

    chris March 8, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Regarding Fair Use, here is a quote from the US Copyright Office and a link to the full page text…

    The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I would also like to point readers to David Amkraut’s article on fair use and the many comments below that help to clarify how fair use plays out in actual conditions: What Every Writer Ought to Know about Fair Use and Copyright

    Reply

    chris March 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Useful trivia….the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati, a tv show about a rock radio station, originally used all popular music (Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, Hendrix, etc.) in scenes in which the music was part of the atmosphere. For example, when Johnny Fever would put the needle on the record and you’d hear a song by The Eagles. In later years, due to the huge cost of re-licensing the music, the re-runs had generic music in place of the original.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Joel, thank you for adding David’s article. Just another reason why your site it so valuable to authors. ~ Sara

    Reply

    Christi @ Love From The Oven March 8, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Great post Sara. The issue of brands and trademarks is certainly something that I wonder about going forward on my project. While I’d prefer to be generic, the nature of what I’m writing makes it very hard to not use brand names.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Christi. Trademark laws are a bit more complex and there are some brands that are a bit, shall we say, overzealous in policing their marks. There is a “fair use” aspect of trademark law but it’s even more nebulous than that of copyright law, making it harder to navigate. But still, there are possibilities. ~ Sara

    Reply

    V Demetros March 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Great, and timely, information. I’m always worried about using brand names. I usually try to work around them but sometimes it’s necessary. Thanks, Sara.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Thank you, V, for reading and commenting. Using a brand name can often do in a few words would would likely take dozens and then still not do the scenario justice. Imagine the title if Weisberger couldn’t use Prada – The Devil Wears Very Fancy Shoes just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Fortunately, owning the trademark for a word or phrase doesn’t mean it’s taken out of the language for others to use. ~ Sara

    Reply

    Katy March 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks Joel and Sara. Very timely and helpful.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Truly my pleasure, Katy. Glad it had information you could use. ~ Sara

    Reply

    Maggie Dana March 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Best to avoid lyrics, even just a few words. You can, however, use song titles because they (like book and film titles) cannot be copyrighted. I know of several authors who’ve gotten into trouble by using song lyrics in their books without permission, and permission from most popular singers/bands is prohibitively expensive.

    Reply

    Jenn Mattern March 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Great intro to IP law for authors Sara. Like several other commenters, using brand names is one of my bigger concerns. I try to stay generic. That’s because I don’t consider most uses to be worth the legal risk. And as a reader I’ve found fake brand names to be distracting, especially when it’s obvious the author is hinting at a real brand.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins March 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Jenn, thank you for your comment. I, too, have found the use of fake brands to be distracting but I understand the reason why they had to do it. It’s a delicate tug-of-war between trademark holders and authors trying to create a sense of authenticity and realism. ~ Sara

    Reply

    John Stamos March 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I don’t give a damn if someone tries to steal my work they’re going to have to answer to me and it’s not going to be pleasant. I don’t give a damn I will put the fear of GOD in them.

    Reply

    Ian March 13, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Wow, didn’t know that about Google! I use it as a ‘verb’ all the time. I thought I was ‘promoting’ or suggesting that readers use Google for their search but re-reading some of the passages, it could easily be misconstrued as a generalism using Google to mean ‘search’.

    Interesting! But I don’t suppose Google will come knocking on my little door to complain :-)

    Reply

    Michelle Hughes April 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    What is rarely mentioned is the cost to fight a copyright infringement claim. Most self-published authors don’t have $10,000 to spend to get a court resolution. So yes a copyright is great but if it ever comes down to a legal dispute you have to make the decision on whether or not your self-published book is work that type of investment that you may never recoup. Just the sad fact of the world we live in, a crook and conman can get away with piracy and stealing your work because the justice system is not cheap.

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins April 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Michelle, you’re absolutely right. The cost to pursue legal action is one of the reasons why so many authors end up taking their case to the court of public opinion. It’s a very unfortunate aspect of our legal system, and many people prey on our inability fight.

    In those instances where the infringement is online, authors do often use the DMCA to at least get their work down.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

    ~ Sara

    Reply

    Michelle Hughes April 10, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Sara,

    I’m sure you get bombarded with legal questions all the time, but I hope you have time to answer this one. Outside of a copyright, what can an author do to protect themselves from faulty claims of infringement. I’m particularly concerned with releasing new manuscripts after a previous incident. Are there are certain documents outside of copyright that can help prove you own the works so even if a faulty claim is raised you can defend yourself without legal help?

    Truly,
    Michelle

    Reply

    Michelle Hughes April 10, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Sara,

    I’m sure you get bombarded with legal questions all the time, but I hope you have time to answer this one. Outside of a copyright, what can an author do to protect themselves from faulty claims of infringement. I’m particularly concerned with releasing new manuscripts after a previous incident. Are there certain documents outside of copyright that can help prove you own the works so even if a faulty claim is raised you can defend yourself without legal help?

    Truly,
    Michelle

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins April 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Michelle,

    This is an excellent question. Unfortunately, there is nothing to stop anyone from making a faulty claim of copyright infringement. Obviously, when filing a lawsuit there is a sworn statement that the information is correct and truthful but one person’s idea of correct and truthful may not, in fact, be correct or true.

    In cases where there is no basis, the case will likely be dismissed. But that does not account for the time and money to defend yourself.

    I wish there was a more concrete answer, but, in fact, there isn’t.

    ~ Sara

    Reply

    Roger April 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Hello,

    Not sure if I am sure if my question fits here but here goes.

    I have a book out of copy write over 80 years ago, I wish to republish. I will update it and move images around, remove some text, so minor changes, maybe change the title and can I put my name on the book as mine? I suppose my question is if you republish a book out of copy write, can I change the title? Also not include the original authors name?

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins April 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Roger, unfortunately there isn’t one clear answer because there are number of different hurdles that need to be cleared before saying “yes” to republishing a work that appears to be in the public domain. The underlying Public Domain work will continue to be in the public domain, and depending on what is added the additions may be sufficient to obtain their own copyright. However, age alone is not a clear indicator of a work being in the public domain. If there is not absolute certainty, a clearance expert should be employed to ensure the work is in the public domain.

    With regard to not including the original author’s name, legally there is precedent that it does not need to be included. (Dastar Corp. v. 20th Century Fox Film Corp., 123 S.Ct. 2041 (2003).) However, copyright laws and plagiarism ethics may be in conflict.

    The title of a work is not usually subject to copyright. But again, there could be exceptions.

    Reply

    Roger September 29, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Hello Sara,

    Just a small question about copyright in republishing a book.

    I have permission from the book copyright owner to republish a book. The cover and inside pages and images will nearly be same as the original. Of course some small changes to the format.

    On the copyright page I will state permission granted from the owners to republish. I am a liitle confused who is the copyright owner of this new book? Myself as the publisher or is it the original copyright owner? Hope you can clear this up for me.
    Thanks

    Reply

    katie August 5, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I’m writing my first book and need to reference the name of a military base. Will that be acceptable? Or do I need permission from the military to print their name?

    Reply

    Sara August 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Katie,

    Disclosure: for information purposes only. Comment below not intended to be legal advice.

    Any time you use the name of something real you have to consider a multitude of legal issues, such as trademark and defamation. The US government does not normally exercise trademark rights over things such as military base names. However, there may legal issues with regard to the fictional portrayal. If your book is presenting factual information there are often less legal concerns. In addition, if merely used for contextual location or historical reference there are often fewer legal concerns.

    There is always the “it depends” answer because it really does depend on how the name is used. With the US Government not obtaining rights, the path is much more clear. However, there is always concern if there is an invasion of privacy or defamatory context.

    Reply

    Sam September 5, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Hello Sara,
    Just a small question on copyright.

    I am intending to republish 3 books, the writer has passed away and all her property etc has been given to a company. I plan to reproduce the books as copies of the originals. From the originals I have retyped, copied the images and formated the book as near as possible to the originals. Talking to the company now for copyright permission. On the copyright page I listed the company as the copyright owners.

    My question, is the company the also the copyright owner of the new republish book or is it myself?

    Reply

    Sam September 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Hello Sara,

    I am writing again as I did not hear back from you, maybe you are too busy?

    Just a small question on copyright.

    I am intending to republish 3 books, the writer has passed away and all her property etc has been given to a company. I plan to reproduce the books as copies of the originals. From the originals I have retyped, copied the images and formated the book as near as possible to the originals. Talking to the company now for copyright permission. On the copyright page I listed the company as the copyright owners.

    My question, is the company also the copyright owner of the new republish book or is it myself?

    Reply

    Sam October 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Hello Sara,

    I am writing again as I did not hear back from you, maybe you are too busy?

    Just a small question on copyright.

    I am intending to republish 3 books, the writer has passed away and all her property etc has been given to a company. I plan to reproduce the books as copies of the originals. From the originals I have retyped, copied the images and formated the book as near as possible to the originals. Of course some minor changes as its not an exact copy. Talking to the company now for copyright permission. On the copyright page I listed the company as the copyright owners of the original works.

    My question, is the company also the copyright owner of the new republish book or is it myself?

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins November 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Sam, sorry for the delay but I wasn’t getting the notifications when people leave a comment.

    For someone who has passed away, if there was a copyright it will pass according to their will, trust, intestate succession, or any other type of transfer agreement made prior to death. A copyright owned by an individual is for their natural life plus 70 years.

    Whomever owns the copyright is the only one able to grant permission. If you are given permission, it should be done by written agreement and in that agreement the copyright holder should designate how the copyright notice is to be listed.

    Republishing a copyrighted work does not give rise to a new copyright. A copyright holder has the exclusive right to create derivative works. Given the scenario of republishing a work for which there is already a copyright, a new copyright is not then granted to the subsequent publisher of the work.

    Reply

    Steven M. Moore November 19, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Sara,
    Here’s an issue I didn’t see treated in the thread.
    First, some back story: Tom Clancy in Patriot Games featured the royal family (at the time, Prince Charles, Princess Di, and baby William) and especially Charles as part of the fictional story. Irish terrorists were trying to kidnap them. Do you think he asked Charles’ permission? (Obviously, I can’t ask Clancy and I’m certain Charles would ignore my query.)
    So, let’s assume that I want to include some real royal families in a fiction work. Like Clancy, I’d show them in a positive light (you’d think Clancy wanted to propose Charles for the directorship of MI5). Am I protected? Or, do I have to ask each one of them permission? (That, clearly, would delay my book’s release.)
    r/Steve

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins November 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Steve,

    Defamation, specifically libel, is a key concern for authors who are using real people in their work. In most instances, permission is not required when writing about a real person. When writing about a real person, even if they are not specifically identified by name but can be identified by characteristics or details the author must be very sensitive to how the person is portrayed regardless of whether it is a fictional or non-fiction depiction.

    Any depiction of a real person that may be defamatory will certainly raise legal concerns. An author has to be willing to take the risk of the person bringing a defamation suit if they choose to use a real person or even a composite of real people.

    Reply

    Steven M. Moore November 26, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Sara,
    Thanks so much for your reply. My reading between the lines tells me (1) I don’t have to ask permission, and (2) as long as I show them in a positive light, I’m probably safe (and that’s what I do). I figured as much, given the Clancy precedent. Putting them in a fictionally dangerous situation and having them help save the day, as in Patriot Games, shouldn’t be considered defamatory.
    You’d be surprised at the varying opinions I’ve received on this. Yours agrees with my knee-jerk instinct, but we’ve all seen many cases where Lady Justice is truly blind. :-)
    r/Steve

    Reply

    Swapnil April 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Sara,

    If an author wants to design the cover page and interior of book, then what are the legal measures to be taken while doing so? I mean regarding softwares, operating system, fonts etc.

    If I give my book to a third party printing press to just print my copies, then don’t you think he’s liable to have all legal licences and author is safe in such case?

    Regards,
    Swapnil.

    Reply

    Roger June 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    OK, I’m using a publisher as POD, a work which the publisher will copyright for me. My question is regarding photos/images in my work. My images were not obtained from the internet, rather were photocopied (by me) primarily from old newspapers (like the 1930′s). Do I need permission to add these to my work? Even if I give credit at the end of my work, which is non-fiction?

    Reply

    Sara Hawkins June 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Roger, as the author you are responsible for securing any rights related to the use of another’s copyrighted material. There are still many works from the 1930s that are covered by copyright because they meet the legal requirements of the laws that existed at that time. Many, however, are in the public domain. It is your responsibility to determine which, if any, may still be subject to copyright so you can secure the proper authority to use them.

    Giving credit is a plagiarism issue. Regardless of the copyright question, if you are not the owner of the image it should be properly credited to avoid the ethical concerns related to plagiarism.

    Hope this helps.

    Reply

    mandy July 20, 2014 at 6:55 am

    could you explain what a legal read entails please ?
    If the publisher chooses the person, What figures should I be looking at ? as it states 50% to be paid by author.
    This is a first book publication.

    Reply

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