The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works / Edition 9

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Attention writers, publishers, journalists, editors, librarians and other wordsmiths! Here's the guide you need to protect yourself against copyright piracy in the world of print and on the Web.
Ignorance is not bliss in the information age. If you work with words today, you must understand copyright law or risk becoming a skid mark on the information superhighway.
The Copyright Handbook provides you with all the tear-out forms you'll need to protect all types of written expression under U.S. and international copyright law. Filled with step-by-step instructions to filling out the forms, it also includes 6 essential copyright forms on CD-ROM.
Written in plain English, this must-have handbook tells you everything you need to know about:
* how to register a written work with the copyright office
* what works can be protected
* when and how to use a copyright notice
* copyright protection for works for hire, adaptations, new editions, electronic mail and compilations (databases and catalogs)
* rights and duration of ownership
* transfer of copyright ownership
* what constitutes infringement and how to avoid it
* how to recognize an adapted or recast work
* fair use: when and how copyrighted material can be used
* electronic publishing rights
* registration of multimedia works and multimedia rights
* how to protect written works on the Internet
The Copyright Handbook provides you with the step-by-step instructions and all the forms you need to register your copyright.
It also includes a CD-ROM containing 6 essential copyright agreements, including electronic-rights provisions, work-made-for-hire agreementsand copyright-assignment agreements.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
For anyone who creates written works...The Copyright Handbook is as essential as a dictionary.
Explains the ins and outs of copyright law in plain English and provides all the forms and step-by-step instructions to register a copyright
Bob Schwabach
The Copyright Handbook...has become a standard work on the subject.
Business Life
For anyone who creates written works...The Copyright Handbook is as essential as a dictionary.
Small Business Opportunities
Don't do anything without reading Consultant & Independent Contractor Agreements.... [This] book will help you understand the importance of written agreements and will show you exactly how to put your agreement together.
Writers Market
A thorough (and thoroughly enjoyable discussion of the subject of copyright law as it applies to writers.
Library Journal
Attorney Fishman's new handbook is a welcome addition to the copyright self-help arena. Written in an accessible and interesting style, it makes effective use of examples to clarify points and is full of good tips and useful information. Fishman concentrates on copyright protection for printed matter (e.g., books, articles, scripts, songs) and offers one of the better ``how to '' sections on copyright registration. His handbook reflects current changes in copyright law, fees, and Copyright Office phone numbers. Besides coverage of the usual copyright topics (copyright notice, infringement, fair use, works made for hire, transfer of copyright), Fishman also handles less obvious aspects (Should you put a copyright notice on material submitted to a publisher? How does ``rule of doubt'' work in copyright registration?). This is a good basic source for writers, publishers, researchers, and the public in general. Includes forms. Recommended for any collection. See also L. Ray Patterson and Stanley W. Lindberg's The Nature of Copy right, reviewed on p. 96.--Ed.-- Johanna Johnson, Dallas P.L.
Law Library Journal
"Indispensable for any writer..."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413305333
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Series: Copyright Handbook Ser.
  • Edition description: Book & CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 9
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Here's a book about copyright for written works. It is for the entire universe of people who deal with the written word.

Who This Book Is For

Novelists, short story writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, biographers, historians, authors of how-to books, writers of scientific and technical works and other works of nonfiction, published and unpublished authors, journalists, freelance writers, persons employed by others to create written works, persons who employ others to create written works, editors who work for magazines and book publishers, established publishers, self-publishers, librarians, teachers and literary agents.

How This Book Is Organized

This book has two parts:

  • Part I (Chapters 2-4) consists of a short overview of copyright law (Chapter 2, Copyright Basics), and a "how-to" guide on copyright notice and registration with the Copyright Office.
  • Part II (Chapters 5-15) serves as your copyright resource; it discusses the most important aspects of copyright law in detail. If you are unable to find the answers to your questions in Part II, the final chapter (Chapter 15, Help Beyond This Book) tells you how to do further research on your own and, if necessary, find a copyright attorney.

Which Parts of This Book You Should Read

Not everyone will want to read the whole book. Which parts you do want to read will of course depend on why you bought the book.

Most of you bought the book for one of these three reasons:

  • You want to know how to satisfy the procedural requirements to obtain maximum copyright protection for a written work.
  • You have a specific copyright question or problem.
  • You want a general education about copyright law.

Assuming you fall into one of these three categories, here is how you can make best use of this book.

1. Readers Who Want to Know How to Satisfy the Procedural Requirements for Maximum Copyright Protection

If you just want to know how to place a valid copyright notice on your work (that's the © followed by a date and name you usually see on published works) read Chapter 3, Copyright Notice. Placing a valid copyright notice on your work will make it easier to enforce your copyright.

If you want to register your work with the Copyright Office, refer to Chapter 4, Copyright Registration, for a step-by-step explanation. You'll find all the registration forms you need on the CD-ROM or in the tear-out appendix at the end of the book. You will obtain important benefits by registering your work after it is published.

2. Readers Who Have a Specific Copyright Question

If you have a specific question or problem, start with the table of contents at the front of the book. For example, suppose you want to know whether you need permission to use a quotation from Abraham Lincoln that you found in a recent Civil War history. By scanning the table of contents you would discover Chapter 11, Using Other Authors' Words -- probably the place to start. And by examining the section headings under Chapter 11, you would find that Section A is the place to start reading.

If you didn't find what you were looking for in the table of contents, you could use the index at the back of the book and search under such terms as "quotations" and "public domain."

3. People Who Want to Learn All About Copyright

If you simply want to learn more about copyright, read Chapter 2, Copyright Basics, and then read as much of Chapters 5 through 14 as you wish. You can skip Chapters 3 and 4, since these chapters are intended for people who want to take specific steps to obtain maximum copyright protection for a written work.

What This Book Is Not About

This book only covers copyright for written works. This means it is not about:

  • copyright protection for music, artwork, photography or audio-visual works; for a detailed discussion of legal protection for music, see Music Law: How to Run Your Band's Business, by Richard Stim (Nolo).
  • publishing contracts -- although we discuss the copyright aspects of publishing contracts, this is not a book about how to negotiate or draft contracts
  • protecting inventions -- see Patent It Yourself, by David Pressman (Nolo), if you want to know about this
  • protecting computer software -- see Copyright Your Software and Web and Software Development: A Legal Guide, both by Stephen Fishman (Nolo), if you want to know about this
  • protecting titles, logos or slogans -- these items may be protected under the federal and state trademark laws, which have nothing to do with copyright; see Trademark: Legal Care for Your Business & Product Name, by Kate McGrath and Stephen Elias (Nolo).
  • protecting ideas -- copyright only protects words, not ideas. Ideas can be protected as trade secrets, which involves committing anyone who learns of the ideas to secrecy, and maintaining security procedures to prevent the ideas from leaking out.

For a detailed discussion of idea protection, see Nondisclosure Agreements: Protect Your Trade Secrets & More, by Richard Stim and Stephen Fishman (Nolo).

What's New in the Sixth Edition

In this edition, we introduce some new topics and we address significant changes in copyright law including:

  • rules regarding registration of multiple works as a single unit (see Chapter 4)
  • registration rules for freelance writers (see Chapter 4)
  • registration of photos and artwork in conjunction with registration of written works (see Chapter 4)
  • mail procedures after the anthrax scare of 2001 (see Chapter 4)
  • Writers Guild registration rules (see Chapter 4)
  • case law distinguishing opinions and facts under copyright law (see Chapter 7)
  • protection of copyrightable works created by teachers and professors (see Chapter 8)
  • transfer of copyright by email or Internet (see Chapter 9)
  • the right to sublicense under an exclusive license (see Chapter 9)
  • preventing unpublished works from entering the public domain (see Chapter 10)
  • parody rules and the Wind Done Gone case (see Chapter 11)
  • linking, framing and deep linking (see Chapter 14)
  • website rights and registration (see Chapter 14)
  • the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Tasini (see Chapter 14), and
  • E-Books case law -- the Rosetta Books case (see Chapter 14)
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Table of Contents

1. How to Use This Book
2. Copyright Basics
3. Copyright Notice
4. Copyright Registration
5. Correcting or Changing Copyright Notice or Registration
6. What Copyright Protects
7. Adaptions and Compilations
8. Initial Copyright Ownership
9. Transferring Copyright Ownership
10. Copyright Duration
11. Using Other Authors' Words
12. Copyright Infringement:
13. International Copyright Protection
14. Copyright in the Online World, Electronic Publishing and Multimedia
15. Help Beyond This Book
Appendix I Sample Forms
Appendix II How to Use the Forms Disk
Appendix III Blank Forms
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