Mob Rule and Other Rules for Authors

anger-18658_640This post is going to have a bit of a split personality. Two entirely different subjects with the flimsiest connection. Consider yourself forewarned.

The inspiration for this is a blog post from Nora Roberts who many of you will recognize as one of the most successful and prolific romance authors in the world. Those who don’t know that name might still be familiar with her pen name of J.D. Robb, also extremely successful. For those who don’t want to read her full post, I’ll give a quick summary. (If you’d prefer you can go read the whole thing. Just remember to come back here afterwards.)

Another author, unnamed in Ms Robert’s post, noticed that Ms. Roberts had a book with the same title. So, she did what anyone with a hair trigger temper and a persecution complex would do. She posted on social media, accusing Ms. Roberts of stealing from her. By the time Nora heard about this, pointed out to the other author that her theory had some major holes, one of the biggest being that Nora’s book had been published first, and the other author posted her retraction, the damage was done. Continue reading “Mob Rule and Other Rules for Authors”

It’s Still Copyrighted, Knucklehead

copyright common sense courtesy of pixabaybanana gun suit-673697_640I’m not a lawyer, blah, blah, blah. And while marginally about copyright, this post is really more about common courtesy as well as common sense which someone (Wikipedia claims Voltaire) says isn’t so common. With a hat tip to Voltaire, I sometimes think common courtesy isn’t so common either. Maybe I should explain.

From a strictly legal sense, at least under US law, when you create a work of the kind covered under copyright law, you immediately have a copyright. While most of you think of this in terms of books and short stories, some of my musician friends are thinking in terms of recorded performances and lyrics to songs. Other artists think in terms of other output whether Kat’s photographs (don’t be using those without her permission), or the political cartoon in the Sunday paper, the same concept applies. Continue reading “It’s Still Copyrighted, Knucklehead”

Google Wins Appeals Court Decision to Scan Books

Judge's gavel, lawsuitGoogle wins again. For the past ten years, Google has battled authors and publishers over the right to make snippets of books searchable on its massive search engine. On Friday, October 16, the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals in New York unanimously agreed with Google in their ruling.

In essence, it is legal under copyright law for Google to scan millions of books and make snippets of them searchable online.

What does that mean for us? Continue reading “Google Wins Appeals Court Decision to Scan Books”

Copyrights: Obtaining Permission (or not)

clipartSince making the decision just over a year ago to leave my small publisher and re-release my books under my own imprint, I’ve learned quite a lot about copyrights, both my own and those of other writers, musicians, photographers, etc. For example, just because it’s free doesn’t mean you can use it  Along those same lines, as discussed in my post Copyrights and Copywrongs, fair use may not always apply.

With this new knowledge in hand, I had to make some changes not only in my previous books, but also in one of my current works in progress. I wanted to use a quote from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, just a couple of lines, but wanted to make sure I followed the rules and obtained the appropriate permissions. I started by searching the Library of Congress database, but soon found that to be of little help. Gibran’s works have been published in so many places under so many formats, I was unable to pin down a copyright holder with any certainty. Continue reading “Copyrights: Obtaining Permission (or not)”