Q. I wrote a novel with a co-author. Now my co-author wants to write another novel (without me!) using the characters from our joint novel. Can she do this without my permission? A. Presumably you and your co-author didn’t have a collaboration agreement (or that agreement didn’t cover the issue of derivative works). Unfortunately, joint … Continue reading Q&A: Using Co-Author’s Characters
Q. I have discovered an old novel I would like to rewrite, using the characters and the plot. Is this legal? A. Not if the novel still is under copyright; if so, your rewrite would be an infringement. The question then becomes how “old,” because if the book is NOT under copyright, it is in … Continue reading Q&A: Copyright In Old Novel
Q. Can you tell me, once and for all, what exactly is “fair use?” A. This is the single-most asked question of publishing lawyers. Thanks to the wonderfully dense language of Congressional bill writing committees, and the courts’ interpretation of their efforts, it is difficult to answer. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act provides … Continue reading Q&A: Fair Use
Under general privacy law, the rights to a real-life story of a private individual rest with the individual. If you write a story or article based on that life, you must obtain the person’s permission. On the other hand, if your article or story is based on news reports or trial transcripts, or the individual … Continue reading Who Owns A True Story?
Q. When do I need permission to use someone else’s material, such as song lyrics or poetry, in my novel? A. The answer is simple: whenever the failure to seek permission will result in copyright infringement. Since 1976,U.S.copyright is automatic when an original work — text, art, photos or music — is created and fixed … Continue reading Q&A: Permissions