6 Copyright Page Disclaimers to Copy and Paste, and Giving Credit

by | Jan 16, 2010

Last time I gave examples of long and short copyright pages that you can use in your book. Today I have two types of information you might want to add to your copyright page: disclaimers and credits. Let’s look at disclaimers first.

Examples of Disclaimers

The copyright page is the place publishers put disclaimers. Here’s my disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and by presenting to you these sample disclaimers—all taken from published books—I am not suggesting you cut and paste them into your book. Only with the advice of a competent attorney can you decide which disclaimers your book may or may not need. Here are some disclaimers other publishers found useful, and the kinds of books they might logically be used in.

  • Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
  • (memoir or recent history)

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • (novels, short stories)

  • I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity in some instances I have changed the names of individuals and places, I may have changed some identifying characteristics and details such as physical properties, occupations and places of residence.
  • (memoir, autobiography)

  • Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.
  • (advice, how-to)

  • This book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.
  • (health, alternative healing)

  • The information in this book is meant to supplement, not replace, proper (name your sport) training. Like any sport involving speed, equipment, balance and environmental factors, (this sport) poses some inherent risk. The authors and publisher advise readers to take full responsibility for their safety and know their limits. Before practicing the skills described in this book, be sure that your equipment is well maintained, and do not take risks beyond your level of experience, aptitude, training, and comfort level.
  • (sports, training)

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

The last use of the copyright page is to give credit to the people who contributed to the making of the book. Most books today do not use a colophon, so if the publisher is going to credit the editor, designer, or others, this is the place to do it. Here are some examples:

Cover Illustration Copyright © 2010 by Road Runner
Cover design by Augustus Smith, BookFondlers, Inc.
Book design and production by John Do, www.dobookdesigns.com
Editing by EditGnome
Chapter opening illustrations © 2010 Joanne Sargeant
Author photograph by Eliza Emulsion
Poetry of Dev Nadev used by permission of the Dev Nadev Foundation.

This rounds up the elements of the copyright page that most self-publishers will need in their books. If you have specific questions about how to set up your copyright page, please put them in the comments.

Resources

Check out this extensive display of disclaimers, both from books and other common products or services, along with a template that can help you craft your own disclaimer:
TermsFeed: Sample Disclaimer Template

 
Photo: Big Stock Photo

Self-Publisher's-Quick-Easy-Guide-CopyrightWant to know more about copyright? Need some sample copyright pages to drop into your book? Confused about the things you read online about copyright? Check out this 30-page easy-to-read guide. Click The Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guide to Copyright for more info, or Buy Now as PDF or Kindle.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

118 Comments

  1. John Hodgson

    I have written a book that has some experiments in it. It is very unlikely that anyone would injure themselves while doing the experiments, but how do I cover myself, just in case?

    Reply
  2. Sharon Goldinger

    Claire, I always recommend consulting with an attorney and would follow his or her advice.

    Reply
  3. Sharon Goldinger

    Faye, you need to check to see what the copyright of the book is. Even if the recipes are from the 18th century, if the book is copyrighted after 1923, you’ll probably need to contact the publisher for permission. However, if you alter the recipe in any way, you should be okay to use it.

    Reply
    • Claire

      You can’t copyright something that is already in the public domain. If a recipe book consists of a collection of old public-domain recipes, any copyright that is claimed applies only to whatever original material is also in the book (explanations, comments, etc.). Of course, if a recipe has been reworded, as is often the case (old recipes often use different measures or terms), then that wording is copyrighted

      The way my lawyer put it was, if the public domain (earlier) version of something would be in copyright violation if it came after the version claiming copyright, then the claimed copyright is invalid.

      Reply
  4. Faye Georgeo

    I am writing a book of historical fiction and would like to use recipes from old cookbooks from the 18th century and later. Do I have to list all of these or are they public domain? If I change something in the recipe, would that release it from being attributed to a specific cookbook?

    Reply
  5. Suz

    Hi can someone advise me. I’m transcribing my teenage diaries as a way to share family history. But my life involves a lot of other towns people. Should I change the names? My intention is to only make a dozen books for giving away. But Im not sure about 50 years time when I’m gone but my books with real people in them exist.

    Reply
  6. Sharon

    Betsy, you’ve asked a very good question. I’m not an attorney so I can’t give you legal advice but in general, the character would have to be clearly identifiable (specific look, attributes, etc.). If this is a compilation of people, I can’t see how anyone would be able to say that’s me but the only way you can get a definitive answer is to consult an intellectual property attorney.

    Reply
  7. betsy boehm

    i’ve written an unlikely fiction book based on a group of environmental activists. I’ve created a lawyer character that is a compilation of all the bad qualities of every rascal man I’ve ever dated, all bad qualities rolled into one. THey are qualities that I’m sure every woman of 62 who has dated over the years could claim as having experienced. Can someone I dated say, hey that’s me? Well, it could have been but it could also have been a large handful of others too. IDeas?

    Reply
  8. Dennis

    I am writing a book that includes the names of characters owned by someone else. The story is fictional and written as a satirical parody due to my dissatisfaction at how one of the characters was killed off. I am told this would be covered under the “fair use doctrine?” Comments? Is this true?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Dennis, you are free to use these in your book.

      Reply
  9. Tristan

    Hello!

    I’m writing a book about what went wrong with the DCEU and as you might be able to tell, there’s a TON of copyright legalities to avoid.

    Any advice?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  10. Sharons

    Brenda, that looks like a good disclaimer to me, especially if you’re not saying anything negative about those people. I always run language like this past my intellectual property attorney.Better to be safe than sorry.

    Reply
  11. Brenda

    In my historical fiction set in 1897, I have used a (real person) wealthy philanthropist as a character in the story. His father and step-mother, as well as one of his closest friends, are briefly mentioned as well. Of course, all are now deceased.

    Will this work as the disclaimer? This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, OTHER THAN XXXXXX, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

    Reply
  12. Shaikha

    I am writing a book that has some controversial subjects such as rape, killing and such, and I would like to know what can I add to my copyright page to free myself of the liability of the actions of people who misinterpreted the purpose of this book.

    Reply
    • Deana Pollard Sacks

      You should probably purchase a Media Liability policy from an insurance company, to be on the safe side – if you think you have made any statement of facts that could be incorrect and could defame someone. These are very expensive, from $2000-5000, but if you get sued, the policy will be invaluable.

      Reply
  13. Julie

    Where do you list a disclaimer for an e-book?

    Reply
    • Sharon

      Julie, it’s often at the bottom of the page, although I’ve seen some in the middle of the page. It often depends on the type of disclaimer and the length.

      Reply
  14. Sharon

    Sherry, the example in the article above shows two different scenarios that you can use for your book:
    (1) where the designer has the copyright:
    Cover Illustration Copyright © 2010 by Road Runner
    and
    (2) where the designer is given credit (but not copyright):
    Cover design by Augustus Smith, BookFondlers, Inc.

    Reply
  15. Sherry Carnahan

    Hello, I am getting ready to publish my first Children’s picture book. I outsourced the Illustrations , book cover and layout. How do I give them credit yet keep the copyright to myself… or is that not how it works? Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Jennifer Payne

    I am finishing a work of biographical fiction (Is that a legitimate genre subtype?). I am using a woman’s personal history as my guide for the story. I am using the real names of all members of her family, as well as the village name in Switzerland where my protagonist grew up at the turn of the century (1900s). All dialogue is my own creation, but I’ve tried to recreate plausible situations for the events described in the personal history. Following is a rough idea of the copyright disclaimer:

    (Title here) is a work of historical and biographical fiction. All dialogue is a product of the author’s imagination and is not to be construed as real. Where real-life characters appear…

    Any thoughts on how I can proceed? All characters are deceased. The living grandchildren asked me to write the book.

    Reply
  17. Caonabo Cruz

    I’m in the process of writing a novel which contains very controversial themes, such as suicide, rape, and depression. The novel, however, is one of hardship, and overall a story on getting over ones obstacles. I really want to avoid lawsuits, so I make very bold narrative decisions on how to “work the suicide in”, in order to make it seem as unatractive as possible, for it isn’t a story about suicide. With that being said, I recognise that literature is often objective, and themes can be misinterpreted, so what can I add to my copyright page to free myself of the liability of the actions of people who misinterpreted the purpose of the novel?

    Reply
  18. Beebah

    I’m a ghostwriter and I have definitely found this article very helpful. Great work there!

    Reply
  19. sara

    Very interesting post, thanks. I’ve almost completed a book (narrative nonfiction) about a university club, a rather debased one with lots of shenanigans going on. That’s the first half of the book.

    Reply
  20. Andrea Burn

    Hi – how’s this for a disclaimer for my late mother’s personal diary, which I have transcribed and intend to publish for family and friends:

    This diary is a work of nonfiction. No names have been changed, no characters invented, no events fabricated. The events mentioned herein took place some seventy years ago when my mother was a young woman with high ideals and high opinions but not always of other people – such is youth! It is not my intention to upset or offend anyone in publishing this diary; but to tell my mother’s story in her own words as truthfully as possible and to put the events of her young life into context for family and friends.

    Reply
    • Victor R. Volkman

      Well I guess you could call it a “claimer” rather than a “disclaimer” as you aren’t disclaiming anything. I don’t see how this message lowers your liability profile in any way. Intentions don’t cut any legal mustard. Either it does or does not invade others rights to privacy, either it does or not make statements of libel, and so on. Maybe you meant this is satire but it sounds like you are being earnest.

      Reply
      • Andrea Burn

        Thanks for your reply. I am just trying to find a way to present my late mother’s diary honestly. Any suggestions all be greatfully received! Cheers. Andrea

        Reply
  21. Margaret Akintade

    This article was and is still very helpful.I really appreciate the compilers who took their time to make this very simplified. I’m 17 and I’ve been writing ever since I was 8. I have lots of manuscripts in hand and I do hope that someday I’ll become a professional published writer/author and movie producers will buy my ideas, because I’m bursting with them!

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Margaret, we’re glad you found the information helpful. It’s great that you’ve been writing since you were eight. Keep writing and learning.

      Reply
  22. Carletheia

    I’m now in the process of writing my autobiography. It’s filled with much harsh and hardcore situations and people. I have already decided to change the names of everyone involved. Your article helped me a lot, and I’m grateful. This will be my first book, and I want everything to go well with no disputes.

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Carletheia, changing the names may not be enough to save you from any disputes. If it were me, I would consult with an intellectual property attorney who can give you specific advice concerning your book and the people in it.

      Reply
      • Carletheia Linnen

        Thank you, I will look into that.

        Reply
  23. Maria

    Hello, very interesting article. Can you tell me if that works for a fiction book?

    Copyright ©2018 Name surname.

    All rights reserved. No part of this book cannot be duplicated in any form without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations in book reviews.

    This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, locations and incidents are either the results of the writer’s imagination or if they are real they are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, events or any other kind is coincidental.

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Maria, yes, this language is for a work of fiction.

      Reply
      • Maria

        Thank you. I ask because I haven’t seen anyone use the word “duplicate”. I wanted to change it a bit. I don’t know if it makes sense. Then you.

        Reply
  24. Victor R. Volkman

    Be sure to add “locales” into the fiction disclaimer as well. For example:
    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks, Victor, I’ve added it to the post.

      Reply
    • Lee-Anne

      hi, i’d like to use this for my book if you will allow me. thank you so much.

      Reply
  25. Gina

    Can I use this in my first page of book?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Gina, yes, but put it on the copyright page, usually the reverse of the title page.

      Reply
      • Gina

        Thank you

        Reply
  26. Frank Mariusi

    Very interesting post, thanks. I’ve almost completed a book (narrative nonfiction) about a university club, a rather debased one with lots of shenanigans going on. That’s the first half of the book. The second half is fiction, including two murders–basically a plausible continuation of the first half, but complete fiction (at least it hasn’t happened yet!). I haven’t quite decided whether this format actually works, i.e. part non-fiction and part fiction, but even if it does, there may be unusual liabilities. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Hi, Frank,

      Unlike other industries that usually look for the next better mousetrap, the book industry is not big on being different. They want to know how a book fits in (what genre, category) so a book can easily be positioned, categorized. That’s why I don’t advocate this unusual approach. Either write a nonfiction book or a novel, whichever is better or easier or best for liability reasons. Whenever I work on a project where I’m concerned about liability issues, the first call I make is to an intellectual property attorney, which is what I recommend you do. He or she will tell you what issues may be of concern to your project and hopefully how to avoid them.

      Reply
  27. Frank MONTAGNINO

    I have written a story which thinly disguises the events and characters involved in a true life murder in my community. I have slightly changed the names, but any local reader will know who and what I’m referencing. One of the suspects was released from prison when his conviction was vacated. In my story, his character, in a drunken stupor, confesses to the murder.
    None of the standard disclaimers seem adequate for this scenario. Any suggestions as to how I can protect myself from potential litigation?

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Frank, I have been involved with a similar type of book and my first stop was an appointment with an intellectual property attorney. He or she will guide you as to how to handle this kind of book and the details.

      Reply
  28. Fifi

    I came to your site looking for an answer. I’ve written a guidebook but I’ve used examples from fiction to show what I was trying to tell, but I also made up some examples.

    Now I don’t know how to represent this in the copyright page and in particular in the disclaimer.

    Is there help here? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Hi, Fifi,

      Good question, Fifi. I need additional information though. It depends on what you’ve quoted and how much you’ve quoted from other sources. If this were my project, I would have an intellectual property attorney review the manuscript to make sure I am giving the proper credit where needed and/or reduce the number of “real” examples versus ones I made up.

      Sharon

      Reply
  29. Marie

    Hi, thanks for this informative post! Is it OK to have the “All rights reserved” text in my copyright notice, and also have the text “Illustrations (c) 2017 by John Doe, licensed from hiscompany.com” to credit the artist? My license isn’t exclusive, and the copyright belongs to the artist. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Hi, Marie,

      Glad the post was helpful. Yes, it’s fine to have both. I have done that in many of the books I’ve produced.

      Reply
      • Mia

        Cool! Thanks a lot, Sharon!

        Reply
  30. christine bautista

    hi. good afternoon. I am currently designing a cover for one of our books. I have downloaded several images for the cover but cannot identify the real original source of all the images.

    what is the proper way to give credit to the original sources of the images? I don’t want to break any copyright law.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Christine, that’s a tough situation. But the bottom line is that you have to get permission to use an image (unless it was created before 1923). It’s not unusual that there is no credit for the image but unfortunately that does not mean you can use the image. If you can’t find the original source of the image, my recommendation is to find another image where you can find and get permission from the source.

      Reply
      • Christine Bautista

        Hello Sharon. Thank you so much for the advise. I was really hoping I could use the images. :(

        Reply
  31. Michael Anon

    Would it be copyright if I copy and paste this quote at the start of my book?

    “I have tried to recreate events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity in some instances, I have changed the names of individuals and places, I may have changed some identifying characteristics and details such as physical properties, occupations and places of residence.”

    Reply
    • Sharon Goldinger

      Michael, that’s a good idea. The best place for it is in a separate author’s note or in the preface.

      Reply
      • Michael Anon

        I understand where I should put it but would the disclaimer be considered copyright.

        Reply
  32. Cathleen Ann Eager

    I would like to write a book about natural options of healthcare. I would like to take info from different pages and sources I’ve used online and in books. Do I have towrite down each source, and would t be ebeneficial for my credability to do that? And can I use certain info found through studies etc. Would it beneficial to source certain writers, Dr. etc.? Or would you be fine to just posting something like you said- This book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.
    (health, alternative healing)

    Reply
  33. Steve Gable

    I have a website cmjmolly.com about the growth and goins on about my dog, Molly. In this web site there is a page, ” Care of your dog” I have copied and pasted an entire article about choosing the best dog food. I got it from petMd LLC. copyrighted 1999-2017 petMD LLC. All rights reserved.
    If I give them credit for the entire article, can I paste it on my site. I have written it but not published it until I get a good answer
    Steve Gable

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      The fact that you’ve given them credit is meaningless. You took someone else’s (intellectual) property to use without their permission. Get in touch with petMed and ask them for permission to use the article.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. https://www.sugardaddycatch.com/blogs_post.php?id=22973 - https://www.sugardaddycatch.com/blogs_post.php?id=22973 blog topic
  2. Tips on naming your character – Alison Aldridge - […] Named after someone: Be careful if your characters name is the same as a living person and make sure it…
  3. eBook Publishers: Are eBook Copyright Pages Missing Information? | Self-Publishing Review - […] “6 Copyright Page Disclaimers to Copy and Paste, and Giving Credit” by Joel Friedlander on January 16, 2010 […]
  4. Week 14 – The Report, Playthrough Video & Asset List & References. – Project Mythos - […] Page Disclaimers to Copy and Paste Into Your Book. [online] The Book Designer. Available at: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/01/6-copyright-page-disclaimers-and-giving-credit/ [Accessed 29 Apr.…
  5. Another Disclaimer | karensdifferentcorners - […] https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/01/6-copyright-page-disclaimers-and-giving-credit/ […]
  6. 5 Tips for naming Characters – Ally Aldridge - […] Named after someone: Be careful if your characters name is the same as a living person and make sure it…
  7. Copyright Laws – Luis' Blog - […] https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/01/6-copyright-page-disclaimers-and-giving-credit/ […]
  8. Copyright Tidbits | Mestengo Books - […] https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/01/6-copyright-page-disclaimers-and-giving-credit/ […]
  9. “Non Andare” (DON’T GO) – FOREVER YOUNG… - […] (https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/01/6-copyright-page-disclaimers-and-giving-credit/) […]
  10. Sample Disclaimer Template - TermsFeed - […] Book Designer offered advice on copyright disclaimer notices in books and wished to make it clear that while the…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.