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Column: Crafting Fabulous Fiction

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LINKS: Rights, Copyright, and Other Legal Issues

General Legal Issues · Copyright · Electronic Rights · International Copyright · Fair Use · Infringement & Plagiarism · Libel, Defamation, and Privacy Issues

General Legal Issues
Articles for Writers and Publishers, by Ivan Hoffman
An extensive list of legal articles on various aspects of copyright, contracts, permissions, foreign rights, distribution, and more.

Dear Rich: An Intellectual Property Blog
Though many of the articles on this blog don't specifically apply to writers, it's worth a look (and quite a few do apply!).

Nolo Law
Nolo.com, "Law for All," is a great place to start your search for information on intellectual property issues. Go to their copyright page, or type "intellectual property" into their search box.

Photo Attorney
This blog is useful for writers as well as photographers, offering information on photography issues and copyright law, and how to deal with infringements. Of special note is its section on how to file a notice with an ISP to have material removed that infringes upon your copyright.

Rights of Writers, by Mark Fowler
This fantastic blog covers a wide range of legal issues writers may face, from whether it's acceptable to mention real-world products in your fiction to whether you can include other writers' fictional characters in your own story. The blog covers copyright issues, defamation, privacy, infringement, and much more. (Unfortunately not updated since 2015, but still useful.)

Voluntary Lawyers for the Arts
This organization can help with legal issues relating to art and intellectual property.

General Copyright Information
Copyright and Intellectual Property (Association of Research Libraries)

An e-zine covering a variety of copyright issues.

Copyright Law & Public Domain
A wealth of articles on every aspect of copyright, including their Copyright Basics FAQ; copyright for software, photography, songwriters, etc.; fair use; and much more.

Copyright Code
The entire text of the U.S. Copyright Code.

Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Digital Millenium Copyright Act (text)

Findlaw's Find a Lawyer
A place to search for copyright and contract lawyers.

Novice Writer's Guide to Rights

Publishing Central: Copyright

SPAWN: Copyright Articles
A number of articles on copyright from SPAWN.

The Long List of Things that Can't Be Copyrighted
An excellent overview of what can, and can't, be protected by copyright, with an additional look at patents and trademarks.

Ultimate Guide to Copyright for Students
This really should say "for everyone" - it's a truly comprehensive, but also comprehensible, explanation of copyright and infringement. It clearly spells out what your rights are as a writer, and what you can and can't use from other people. It also offers an extensive section on plagiarism.

U.S. Copyright Office
All about copyright and copyright law, plus downloadable forms to register your copyright.

When U.S. Works Pass into the Public Domain

Electronic Rights
C-Rights in E-Mail

Derivative Rights and Websites

Electronic Publishing and the Potential Loss of First Serial Rights

Getting Permission to Publish: Ten Tips for Webmasters
Do you want to use someone else's material on your site? Here's some tips on getting permission, and making sure that you don't infringe on another's copyright.

Who Owns the Copyright in Your Web Site?

International Copyright
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Find out how to file a copyright application in Canada, what your rights are under Canadian copyright law, and more. Site includes a glossary of intellectual property terms, application forms, and more.

Access: The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency
Canada's official copyright site, offering everything Canadian writers need to know about copyright law in Canada (plus how to register copyright).

A very useful site offering a number of sample contracts in a wide range of categories, including writing and copyright.

UK Intellectual Property Office
Information on protecting your intellectual property in the UK and abroad.

Writers Copyright Association
A UK copyright registry for scripts; the links section offers extensive links to screenwriting resources.

A very useful site offering a number of sample contracts in a wide range of categories, including writing and copyright.

The Writer's Union of Canada
Free contract advice to members, plus publications on how to negotiate contracts (these services are available for a fee for nonmembers).

SFWA Model Contracts
Model contracts for author/agent, anthology, hardcover, magazine, paperback, and web publishing.

Fair Use, Licensing & Permissions
ACE Song Title Database
If you're looking for permission to use song lyrics, try searching the ACE database. "The ACE is a database of song titles licensed by ASCAP in the United States. For each title, you can find the names of the songwriters and the names, contact persons, addresses and, in most cases, phone numbers of publishers to contact if you want to use the work. For most of the titles, you'll find some of the artists who have made a commercial recording."

Can I Use That Picture?
Far too many folks seem to believe that if an image is online, it's OK to "borrow" it for one's blog, website, Facebook page or whatever. Here's a great infographic to help determine whether an image is actually available, legally, for use (online or off)!

Copyright and Fair Use
Links to articles on issues of copyright, multimedia rights, and fair use.

Copyright Clearance Center
This site collects payment for use of copyrighted materials, usually when materials are used internationally. It could be worth registering an account here; while I have not personally collected payments, several of our contributors have received monies from the use of articles published on Writing-World.com.

Digital Copyright Slider
Confused about when materials are no longer protected by copyright? This "copyright slider" provided by the American Library Association helps sort it all out - by date of authorship, date of publication, whether or not copyright was actually registered, and more.

The 'Fair Use' Rule: When Use of Copyrighted Material is Acceptable

Image Manipulation & How To Avoid Copyright
"This infographic looks at what legalities are involved in image manipulation, focusing on US laws whilst also taking a look at UK laws and other factors from around the world." Note that this is published in the UK and focuses a bit more on UK than US despite the statement above. At the end there are some actual case samples that are quite interesting.

Lots of good resources on understanding, preventing, avoiding, and detecting plagiarism.

ReelClassics: Images, Clips & Public Performance Licensing
Ever wondered if you could write about, or use an image of, a famous movie star in your fiction or nonfiction book? Chances are the answer is "no" unless you can obtain permission. Here's an excellent article on how to obtain licensing for names and images of stars, including lists of agencies that license movie stills.

Libel, Defamation, and Privacy Issues
Can I Mention Brand Name Products in My Fiction?

Can You Tell Your Own True Story Even If It Impinges on the Privacy of Your Lovers, Friends, and Family?

Defamation, Libel Law and Slander

Peering at Privacy in Creative Nonfiction

Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press: Privacy
"This section covers the right of privacy under state law... The two primary types of invasion of privacy actions are intrusion upon seclusion and publication of private facts."

Reporters' Recording Guide
Subtitled A Practical Guide to Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations in the 50 States and D.C., this is an excellent guide to the rules and regulations about taping telephone interviews.

United States Defamation Law

A Writer's Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy
Primarily addressing memoir, this article discusses the balance between telling your story and invading the privacy of others.
Didn't Find What You Were Looking For? Check Our Other Link Sections:
Agents · Totally Awesome BLOGS · Book Promotion Resources · Book Publishers (lists) · Business, Finance & Taxes; Setting Fees · Business & Technical Writing · Character Naming Resources · Children's Writing · Christian Writing · Classes, Conferences & Colonies · Contest Resources · Critique and Discussion Groups · Dictionaries, Glossaries & Language Resources · E-publishing Information · Essays, Memoirs and Personal Journaling · "Just for Fun" Sites · Grammar · Grants and Funding Organizations · Market Guides and Guideline Databases · Horror Writing · Job Sources · Magazines, Newspapers and Electronic Media · Mystery Writing · Organizations for Writers · Photography · Poetry · Prompts, Exercises & Idea Generators · Publications for Writers · Rights, Copyright, and Other Legal Issues · Romance and Historical Fiction · Scams, Warnings, Viruses & Hoaxes · Science Fiction & Fantasy · Screenwriting · Self-Publishing · Social Media, Blogging and Website Development · Syndicates · Travel Writing · Writing Sites · Young Writers' Resources

Recommended Reading

(Yep, these are affiliate links - use them to help support Writing-World.com!)

Author Law A to Z

The Copyright Book

The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook

The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know

Deal Breakers 2013: Contract Terms Writers Should Avoid

Getting Permission: How to License & Clear Copyrighted Materials Online & Off

Kirsch's Handbook of Publishing Law

The Law In Plain English for Writers

Literary Law Guide for Authors

The Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More

Rights and Contracts; What YOU Need to Know About Copyright, Rights, ISBNs, and Contracts

Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer

The Writer's Legal Companion

The Writer's Legal Guide


Copyright © 2018 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

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