Category Archives: Copyright

Is It Research or Plagiarism?

Hi! I am a beginning freelance writer. I am writing an article in which I’ve based some of my ideas on texts I used in college. Will I be sued if I don’t ask the authors’ permission? They say that “stealing from one source is plagiarism, but stealing from many sources is research.” Is this…

Will An Editor Steal Your Ideas?

I’d like to send my novel out for publication, but I’m afraid it will get stolen. What would you advise? — An Anxious Writer Dear Anxious: This is a question I’ve heard many times from would-be writers. I say “would-be” — because it is a fear that blocks many writers from ever actually submitting their…

What is a “Poor Man’s Copyright”?

The other day a client asked this question: Getting a copyright seems expensive. I can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for lawyers and fees. Someone told me that I can get a “poor man’s copyright” by mailing my work to myself, then keeping the sealed envelope to prove when I created the work. It…

Using Public Domain Music in an Audiobook

Music can enhance the audio version of your book. But when creating an audiobook, you need to be careful to respect the intellectual property rights of the artists who created the music. There is music in the public domain (music that is not covered by copyright) but determining the public domain status of a work…

What To Do When Someone Steals Your Ideas

“I queried a major magazine and included a list of interview sources. They rejected my idea but, one year later, they just published the article I pitched to them, and they used my sources!” “I received a form rejection letter for a series of books I pitched to a large book publisher a couple of…

Copyright Facts Every Author Should Know

While it’s generally known that authors own copyrights of their works once they put pen to paper, in this digital age, stealing someone’s work is easier than it has ever been. Authors may find it in their best interests to get their work copyrighted, or at the least, to learn the facts about copyright. Do…

Images in Books: Rights and Permissions

Writing a book that will include images can be a challenge for many reasons. Whether it’s getting quality images or securing permission to use photographs, authors need to do their research if they want to produce a quality book with stunning visual appeal. Most authors are concerned about retaining the copyright to their books, but…

Copyright and Fair Use

One of the most misunderstood aspects of copyright law is the concept of “fair use.” Some people believe that fair use allows anyone to use up to a certain number of words from a copyrighted work (such as 120) or not more than a percentage (such as 10%) of the entire work. However, the law…

Public Domain Books – Reuse Them for Profit

Books in the public domain are not covered by copyright. This means that you may freely use the text in these books without permission.

How to Investigate the Public Domain Status of a Work

This is a simplified explanation of how to determine if a work is in the public domain and not covered by copyright. It is intended to be a useful guide to copyright and public domain under U.S. law, but not to substitute for legal advice. In countries outside the U.S., consult with the copyright authority…