Article Category - "Legal"

Independent Articles
Lee Wilson, August 2004
Getting Permissions »

Lawyer Lee Wilson has written several books on intellectual-property law, including The Copyright Guide: A Friendly Guide to Protecting and Profiting from Copyrights, and Fair Use, Free Use, and Use By Permission: How to Handle Copyrights in All Media, both published by Allworth Press. She lives and works in Nashville. Although copyright law does not …

Paul Aiken, August 2004
When an Agent Wants a Never-ending Deal »

PUBLISHED AUGUST 2004 by Paul Aiken, Execuitve Director, Authors Guild Paul Aiken is the executive director of the Authors Guild. This article is adapted from an e-mail advisory sent to Guild members. For further information, visit Certain literary agencies include an “interminable agency” clause in their agreements with clients and/or in the book-publishing contracts …

Lloyd L. Rich, July 2004
Who Owns an Interview? Insights into Copyright Cases »

Interviews are frequently an important element of a book, and copyright law permits an author to automatically claim copyright ownership and protection for an “original” work. Does an interview qualify as a copyrightable work? If the answer is yes, who owns an interview–the interviewee or interviewer? Courts have sometimes applied federal copyright law and sometimes …

Jonathan Kirsch, June 2004
Danger! Amazon’s Inside the Book Programs Pose Legal Risks for Publishers »

Not long ago, I was invited to deliver a keynote address at a conference titled “The Literature of Los Angeles.” To prepare my remarks, I needed to select some appropriate passages from the works of important L.A. writers, including Carolyn See, James Ellroy, and Mike Davis. But I did not need to visit a bookstore …

Lloyd J. Jassin, February 2004
PMA Joins Book Industry Statement Seeking to Amend the PATRIOT Act »

Lloyd J. Jassin is PMA’s First Amendment counsel, a vice president of the Media Coalition, and a publishing attorney. He is also coauthor of The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook (John Wiley & Sons). To contact him, visit This article discusses general legal issues of interest and is not designed to give any specific …

Lloyd L. Rich, January 2004
A Word to the Wise on Copyright Extension »

Many publishers and authors have different opinions about the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act (CTEA), which increased the term of copyright protection in the United States by 20 years. If you are a publisher and/or an author, you need to understand how it came to be and how it affects you. Specific issues to …

Mary Embree, November 2003
About Collaboration Contracts »

If you will be collaborating with someone else on a book, the first issue to be resolved–as Tad Crawford points out in Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers–is how the copyright in the collaboration will be owned. In every case, all details of the agreement should be spelled out. For example, the names …

Reid Goldsborough, November 2003
Savvy Computing:
Don’t Become a Victim of Identity Theft »

Imagine having your bank account drained, being unable to use your credit cards, and seeing your credit rating trashed. Imagine then spending hour after hour trying to clear your good name and get your life back together. Identity theft is the number-one consumer complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Database. An estimated …

Alan N. Canton, September 2003
Now We Are Engaged in a Great War: Publishers and the Patriot Act »

I dreamt last night that I was giving a speech to a large assemblage of publishers at the PMA-U luncheon on the issue of the Patriot Act. This law gives the federal government the power to coerce publishers and librarians to hand over lists of book buyers or borrowers. Here is what I had to …

Jonathan Kirsch, August 2003
The Perils of Pricing »

Jonathan Kirsch, a publishing attorney based in Los Angeles, is general counsel of the Independent Book Publishers Association and a recipient of its Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in publishing. What is the legal risk for the publisher who offers more attractive prices and terms to a preferred customer? Under some circumstances, publishers who engage …

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