Copyright factoids for writers

Copyright symbol-2

Copyright symbol from Microsoft publishing

It never ceases to amaze me the fun facts or should I say unbelieve facts I learn at writer’s conferences. One I’d never heard of before is making me rethink a line in my latest novel.

Did you know?

We should all be aware that you need to check for copyrights for photos used in our materials. Don’t want to get sued. And if you’ve done your due diligence you may also know that you often have to be sure you have permission to quote from other sources. There’s a percentage formula. And you need to double check what percentage. The information can be found in the front of your source book under the used by permission disclaimer. Song lyrics have the same rules.

musical score-2

Copyright symbol from Microsoft publishing

Hard choice

Here’s the fun fact making me rethink my dialogue. Lines from movies not only need permission but you have to send a copy of the page of your manuscript where the line appears and the page before and after. This is a snail mail process with a SASE. No emailing here. And any and all of this asking permission could cost money.

So, I think I’ll just change the line. It can almost sound the same but it can’t be a direct quote. However, I’m free to mention a title because they can’t be copyrighted.

Other foot perspective

Some people think it is terrible for authors, musicians and scriptwriters to insist on permission. And to have to pay them no less. Well, if it was your words being used by others for free you might feel differently about it. If you invented a product and someone was stealing it off the shelves without paying … The flip flop is on the other foot and not so comfortable now is it.

rejection figures-lawsuit-2Be Proactive

Get your permission before you submit. Publishers are trusting you to do it. Add a line in your proposal mentioning rights have been granted. It creates huge problems to discover the material you quoted can’t be used in any form after the submission. The publisher may not be willing to give you the chance to rework your manuscript to exclude it, instead they may return it. How embarrassing. Be professional and get permission.

How have you waded through the copyright quandry?

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3 thoughts on “Copyright factoids for writers

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