Q. I have been given a contract that requires me to waive “moral rights” in my work. What am I giving up? I consider myself a moral person. A. Moral rights actually have nothing to do with what morality – i.e., principles concerning right and wrong, or good and bad behavior. Instead, moral rights are … Continue reading What Are Moral Rights?
In the movie “The Princess Bride” the hero, played by Cary Elwes, is tortured to death. Except it turns out he’s only “mostly” dead, and he can be revived. Likewise, Getty Images now are “mostly” free. Some background. Contrary to what many people believe, photos, drawings, and images are protected by copyright law, and you … Continue reading Getty Images’ New Policy
I have written before about the Author’s Guild copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for its unauthorized digitizing of copyrighted works. Now, after eight years of litigation, we have a decision. Briefly, in 2005 the Author’s Guild and other plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Google for its “Book Search,” alleging that Google violated the … Continue reading Google Book Scan Lawsuit Decision
Background: Perhaps the greatest intellectual property dilemma facing American writers is the difficulty of enforcing copyright claims when the damages are not large – and, conversely, the high cost of defending against frivolous or unjustified claims. Currently, all infringement lawsuits must be brought in federal court, and registration of the copyright is a precondition. (Unless … Continue reading The New Copyright “Small Claims” Proposal
Q.. I’m in a writer’s group. If I distribute my novel to the group, do I lose copyright? A. No, you can’t “lose” your copyright unless you assign or transfer your copyright in writing. The correct question is “Have I met the definition of ‘publication’?” Why is it important that you have “published” your novel? … Continue reading Writer’s Groups
The Poor Man’s Copyright is one of those apocryphal ideas that almost, but not quite, rises to the status of urban legend (unfortunately, it’s not as scary as exploding toilets). I have encountered many otherwise sophisticated authors who not only believe in this charming fantasy, but also practice it. Here’s the idea: Whenever you send … Continue reading The “Poor Man’s Copyright”