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Copyrighting Your Work

The MBR website features a links page dedicated to Copyright Resources at

because one aspect of publishing that every author (and every publisher) should know about is the value and process of copyrighting their work.

This is from Wikipedia:

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative work. Some, but not all jurisdictions require "fixing" copyrighted works in a tangible form. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rights holders. These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and "moral rights" such as attribution.

Copyrights are considered territorial rights, which means that they do not extend beyond the territory of a specific jurisdiction. While many aspects of national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright agreements, copyright laws vary by country.

Typically, the duration of a copyright spans the author's life plus 50 to 100 years (that is, copyright typically expires 50 to 100 years after the author dies, depending on the jurisdiction)

Here are three excellent "how to" instruction manuals on copyrighting:

Copyright Plain and Simple
Cheryl Besenjak
Career Press
12 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470
9781564142733, $11.99 PB / $12.09 Kindle

The fundamental elements of copyright protection are explained in a simple, effective volume important to any writer. The basics of copyright law is explained through numerous clear examples and discussions of the foundations of protection; from applications to music and electronics to fair use policies.

The Copyright Guide
Lee Wilson
Allworth Press
10 East 23rd Street, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010
9781880559437, $18.95 PB

A copyright is a set of rights granted by the federal government to the creators of literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audio-visual works and sound recordings. Copyright law rewards creators by grating them the exclusive right to exploit and control their creations. Creators reap the profits from their works for the duration of copyright protection by limiting access to creative works to those who pay for the privilege of using them. The Copyright Guide: A Friendly Handbook for Protecting and Profiting from Copyrights is written for everyone who creates, acquires, or exploits copyrights. The Copyright Guide is an easy-to-understand handbook that provides a complete and up-to-date explanation of the law for anyone who wants to understand and benefit from copyrights. The Copyright Guide offers a definitive and informative source of answers to the most commonly asked questions by business and individuals, including information about what can and cannot be protected, the duration and scope of protection, notice and registration, how to avoid and evaluate infringement, obtaining permissions, how copyrights are used and exploited in the marketplace, and current copyright issues on the World Wide Web. An extensive appendix contains sample forms and agreements with detailed instructions of how they are used, and a glossary clearly explains the most frequently used terms in copyright law. The Copyright Guide is an invaluable resource for protecting revenues and learning how to avoid costly mistakes.

The Copyright Handbook
Stephen Fishman
Nolo Press
950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781413305333, $39.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle

Simply stated, "The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs To Know" by copyright attorney Stephen Fishman is the definitive reference on the subject of copyright law. This thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction manual shows aspiring authors how to register their work; how to maximize copyright protection for their work; how to use a copyright notice; how to transfer ownership of a copyright; how to avoid copyright infringements and effectively deal with those who infringe on their copyrighted material; the legal definition of the 'fair use' rule; how to obtain permission to use copyrighted work; how to profit from a copyright. All this and a great deal more (such as copyrighting Internet works such as blogs) are covered in this newly updated and expanded ninth edition of "The Copyright Handbook" which is accompanied by a CD-ROM providing more than 30 legal and copyright forms. "The Copyright Handbook" is very strongly recommended as essential reading and an invaluable reference to authors seeking a professional career and publishers wishing to avoid becoming entangled in copyright issues.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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