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Jim Cox Report: October 2018
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
This month I thought I'd cover the subject of COPYRIGHT. This was prompted by a recent email correspondence that began with:
In a message dated 7/11/2017 7:37:39 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Celeste Baine writes:
I started my publishing company by self-publishing my first book in 1999. The book did so well I had a wonderful career as a publisher/author/speaker/chief dishwasher. I now have 22 books in my name - most were published by my company but some were through others.
Last year, I decided to pursue other adventures and put the company up for sale. Iím on the edge of closing the sale but the buyer wants the copyright to my books. I countered by saying they could have all publishing rights but would keep the copyright. Weíve gone back and forth.
My problem is that I donít know what Iím fighting for. Another publisher once told me that holding the copyright simply means I need to enforce illegal usage. If Iím earning royalties, what is the value of the copyright? How do you value a copyright? Certainly itís an asset but does it carry a monetary value? Whatís the benefit to them of owning the copyright and whatís the benefit to me? Can another publisher make changes to a book in my name if they own it?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Director - Engineering Education Service Center
On Jul 13, 2017, at 9:34 AM, Jim Cox wrote:
Owning the copyright means that the publisher you sell it to can then turn around and sell your book to another publisher for a profit with no further recompense to you as the author.
Midwest Book Review
This was my shorthand, off the top of my head response -- but it was adequate for this particular inquiry as judged by her response.
Sent: 7/13/2017 11:40:29 A.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: Re: [PUBLISH-L] The meaning of copyright
Thank you Jim, Thatís eye-opening!
Appreciate your input.
But the subject of COPYRIGHT really needs a far more definitive and comprehensive explanation. As with most specific subjects and/or questions I always like to start off with what Wikipdia has to say:
Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. 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 on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.
Copyright is 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 can be granted by public law and are in that case considered "territorial rights". This means that copyrights granted by the law of a certain state, do not extend beyond the territory of that specific jurisdiction. This type of copyrights vary by country, many countries, sometimes a large group of countries, have made agreements with other countries how to act in crossing border situations and when national rights collide.
Typically, the public law duration of a copyright expires 50 to 100 years after the creator dies, depending on the jurisdiction. Some countries require certain copyright formalities to establishing copyright, others recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.
Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to the philosophical basis of copyright law. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright, such as those in the music business, have advocated the extension and expansion of copyright and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.
Copyright licenses can also be granted by those deputized by the original claimant, and private companies may request this as a condition of doing business with them. Services of internet platform providers like YouTube, Facebook, GitHub, Hotmail, DropBox, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter only can be used when users grant the platform provider beforehand the right to co-use all uploaded content, including all material exchanged per email, chat or cloud-storage. These copyrights only apply for the firm that operates such a platform, no matter in what jurisdiction the platform-services are being offered. Private companies in general do not recognize exceptions or give users more rights than the right to use the platform according certain rules
For authors and publishers that want a complete course of instruction on the subject of COPYRIGHT I recommended the following for "Copyright Resources":
As well as the following books on COPYRIGHT:
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
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
950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781413305333, $39.99 www.nolo.com
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.
Carmack's Guide To Copyright & Contracts
Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG
Genealogical Publishing Company
9780806317588, $15.95 www.genealogical.com
A Certified Genealogist, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is also an editor and one of the field's most prolific writers with sixteen books and hundreds of published articles to her credit. Therefore she brings a very special expertise to "Carmack's Guide To Copyright & Contracts: A Primer For Genealogists, Writers & Researchers". With a thoroughly 'reader friendly' conversational style of writing, Carmack clearly and accurately explains the basics of copyright, other rights, contracts, and how these all apply to the work of genealogists, writers, and researchers in genealogy or any other form of information gathering. "Carmack's Guide To Copyright & Contracts" addresses such questions as to whether or not permission is required to use something found on the Internet; can newspaper obituaries be reproduced without permission; how to determine when something is in the public domain; who owns the copyright to the client report; if an ancestor's diary can be published without permission; and whether lectures or lessons can be copyrighted. Of special note is what Carmack has to say about who owns the copyright to something written for a genealogical society by a volunteer. "Carmack's Guide To Copyright & Contracts" should be considered to be a highly recommended and indispensable reference for the professional and amateur genealogists, genealogical society volunteers and staff, instructors, writers, librarians, speakers, and anyone else wanting to clarify the copyright status of any material be it their own or another's.
Now on to reviews of new books with particular relevance and interest for authors and publishers:
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
The Writer's Portable Mentor, second edition
University of New Mexico Press
MSC05 3185, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
9780826360052, $24.95, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com
Priscilla Long is a writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, fiction, and history. In this newly updated and expanded second edition of "The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life", she continues to draw upon her years of experience and expertise to designed an instructional guide and manual as a means of mentoring writers at all levels, from beginning to quite advanced, by offering a wealth of insight and crafting models. Based upon her twenty-plus years of teaching and creative thought, "The Writer's Portable Mentor" provides the tools necessary for the successful structuring a book, story, or an essay. "The Writer's Portable Mentor" deftly trains writers in observation and in developing a poet's ear for sound in prose. Priscilla also scrutinizes the sentence strategies of the masters and even offers practical advice on how to publish. This newly revised second edition is updated to account for changes in the publishing industry and provides hundreds of new craft models to inspire, guide, and develop every writer's work. Expertly organized and throughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, and presentation, "The Writer's Portable Mentor" is explicitly and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted that "The Writer's Portable Mentor" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $24.95).
500 Words You Should Know
Firefly Books Ltd.
9781782432944, $16.95, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com
"500 Words You Should Know" is Caroline Taggart's instructive reference for anyone who has ever wanted to ameliorate their atavistic lexicon, engage in a little intellectual badinage, or been discombobulated by tricky diction. "500 Words You Should Know" will inspire readers and writers to use uncommon words in their correct context, to utilize the English language to its full potential, and to test themselves on the words they think they already know. "500 Words You Should Know" is an instructive reference for those who appreciate correct usage of the English language, and contains words we thought we knew (decimate, caveat, nemesis), words we should know (euphemism, diatribe, tautology), and just a few that we might want to know (peripatetic, shibboleth, callipygian). Arranged thematically, each word is dissected, with a brief explanation of etymology, historical, and modern usage, allows the full understanding and effectively employment of the word in its proper context. "500 Words You Should Know" is an ideal, entertaining, and useful read for bibliophiles, writers, and the general reading public. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "500 Words You Should Know" is also available in a paperback edition (9780228101062, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Three Wells of Screenwriting
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932863, $26.95, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com
Working from a writer's perspective, in "The Three Wells of Screenwriting: Discover Your Deep Sources of Inspiration", writer, director and script editor Matthew Kalil deftly explores how aspiring scriptwriters draw upon their innate creativity and inspirational resources that will help them consciously develop new scripts or strengthen old ones. "The Three Wells of Screenwriting" includes 29 exercises and techniques that help novice (and even seasoned) screenwriters to craft and develop stories that contain fresh ideas, intriguing characters, original scenes, inventive dialogue, unique locations, and important themes. Extraordinary, practical, effective, inspiring, and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional manual and guide, "The Three Wells of Screenwriting" is unreservedly recommended for professional, community, college, and university library Performing Arts - Screenwriting collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that as an ideal resource for successfully dealing with the problem of 'writer's block', "The Three Wells of Screenwriting" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.95).
Here is "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating postage stamps this past month:
Aunt Marie's Gourmet
Robin T. Shea -- "Parallels"
Neena H. Brar -- "Tied to Deceit"
Marian O'Meara -- "A Warning from the Past"
James C. McCullah -- "My Extraordinary Life"
Cheryl Judice -- "Interracial Relationships Between Black Woman And White Men"
Heidi Stock -- Whistlefritz, LLC
Norman Whaler -- Beneath Another Sky Books
Elizabeth Blenz-Clucas -- Sugar Mountain PR
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support to our postage stamp fund for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community. Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at:
SupportMBR [at] aol.com
(The @ is replaced by "[at]" in the above email address, in an attempt to avoid email-harvesting spambots.)
If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.
All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/jimcox.htm. If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.
So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!
Midwest Book Review
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James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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