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Characters and Copyright Protection

Gerald M. Levine, co-author It would be unusual in a work of any genre for every part to be protected by copyright law even though the whole work bears the symbol ©. Only when an infringement is alleged and challenged does it become apparent that the phrase “original works of authorship” (Section 102(a) of the […]

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Fair Contracts for Authors

Gerald M. Levine, co-author In May 2015, the Authors Guild announced its Fair Contract Initiative, and more recently the Internatioanl Authors Forum presented “Ten Principles for Fair Contracts.” Both highlight the same ” standard” contract terms. These include length of license, fair royalties on e-books . . . . Continue reading Column from Publishers Weekly […]

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The Role of Investors in Marketing Literary Works

The following article first appeared in Independent Publisher. The full text can also be read in full below. Co-Author Gerald M. Levine Copyright adheres to creative works when they are fixed in tangible mediums of expression for the first time. At the moment of fixation authors own and control their works in every respect, but […]

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Internet Subscription Libraries

Co-author, Gerald M. Levine New Internet subscription libraries are offering to “lend” digital books based on subscription models that brick and mortar lending libraries in England invented in the 19th Century.  For $X dollars per time period subscribers gain access to vast collections of backlist and self-published books at less cost and with none of […]

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Predictability Depends on the Panel You Draw

A general view formed early in the UDRP jurisprudence is that for predictability decisions “should consist of more than, it depends what panel you draw’.” Time Inc. v. Chip Cooper, D2000-1342 (WIPO February 13, 2001) (<lifemagazine.com>). The goal for consistency is achieved through “a strong body of precedent” which “is strongly persuasive” even if not binding. […]

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Limits of Protected Speech

The question of protected speech is whether the protection is to the domain name or the contents of the website. There are two official “views” about critical speech. Both recognize (at least, generally) that use is “fair” if it is foretold or announced in the domain name and expressed in the content. Thus, “trademark+pejorative.com” that […]

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Consequences of an Unsatisfactory Manuscript

Co-author, Gerald M. Levine The traditional publishing process begins with an editor’s enthusiastic response to an author’s outline, proposal, and sample chapter, followed by an offer and contract from the publisher.  Once the contract is signed the focus shifts to the quality of the final manuscript. The publishing contract includes a “d & a” (abbreviation […]

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Paying Authors for Their Work

Co-author Gerad M. Levine Whether money is the motive for writing – “[n]o man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money” (Samuel Johnson) – or only one of the rewards for those lonely hours of composition, how does the author get paid? Before she reaches the “royalties” clause in her publishing contract she has […]

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Licensing Work for a Collection

Co-author Gerald M. Levine Including a work in a collection or compilation depends on who owns the copyright and the licensing terms if the work is owned by the author. Compilations of like works or genres may be a goal eagerly sought by authors. Collections may be under a publisher’s control.  Internet compilations may be […]

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Pitfalls for Self Publishing Authors

There are publishers in the traditional sense who curate the books they publish and there are companies that provide printing services for self publishing authors without curation who pretend to be traditional publishers. Be wary of printing contracts styled as publishing contracts. The business models are entirely different. Printing contracts can be misleading in describing […]

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Self publishing With E-Book Publishers (Q & A)

I am planning on self publishing through an e-book service.  Will my rights be transferred to the publisher by means of the terms and conditions of the agreement? Rights granted are only those that you agree to give.  The balance are retained.  Think of a contract as a proposal.  It is not a one-way street.  […]

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Copyright Protection Extends to Expressive Material

Co-author Gerald M. Levine Copyright protection extends to expressive material. Strings of effectively arranged letters, words, phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs are the essence of expression. They are owned by the author who creates them and protected by copyright law, although infringements are not actionable unless the work is registered with the Copyright Office. If […]

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Damages and Penalties for Copyright Infringement

Co-author Gerald M. Levine Copyright infringement has consequences. The Copyright Act protects the integrity of an author’s work by granting the copyright holder certain exclusive rights in both her original and derivative works. It has teeth. This means the author controls who may do what to her work. For example, without a license from the […]

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Electronic Rights: Verbatim Text Editions and Multimedia Products

About electronic rights” there are two fundamental questions: What are electronic rights? And, Should an author grant or retain them? “Electronic rights” is shorthand for a basket of rights and multiplicity of products including 1) verbatim text editions delivered through multiple platforms; and 2) non-verbatim multimedia products including interactive educational or entertainment CD-ROMs and DVDs, […]

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Contracts That Resemble But Are Not Publishing Agreements

There is a difference between contracts offered by traditional publishers and contracts by printers that resemble but are not publishing agreements. Traditional publishers produce, distribute and market books at their own expense; they assume the risk that these costs will have a positive return on investment. Printers print on demand even though they may advertise […]

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Bad Faith Registration Inferred from Non Use of a Descriptive Phrase

It is a misapprehension of domain name jurisprudence to believe that the registration of a descriptive phrase that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark is ipso facto legitimate. Legitimacy depends on the website’s content, possibly the parties’ relationship and their geographic locations. That the domain name is inactive is not a barrier for […]

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Calibrating Trademark Holder’s Reputation Outside its Jurisdiction

That any aggrieved trademark holder can institute a claim against any respondent however distant their countries of residence means only that the former has jurisdiction to maintain the proceeding. To advance its cause the complainant has to demonstrate that at the time the domain name was registered its reputation extended to the respondent’s country of […]

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