The Writer's Legal Companion

By Brad Bunnin; Peter Beren | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
You, a writer, want to devote your time and energy to the creation of high quality, publishable work, not hassles with publishers, editors, agents, lawyers, or even the occasional reader who claims he's been libeled. But in today's publishing business, you can't avoid the legal implications of your professional decisions. You can, however, understand the major ways in which the legal system impinges on your work and incorporate this knowledge into your decision-making. Done sensibly, this will enable you to sidestep many potential legal problems and minimize the effect of those that can't be absolutely avoided. What problems are likely to beset you? Here's a sample:
Your publisher insists that you revise your last book and doesn't seem to care that you're in the middle of your next one. Must you turn your life upside-down just because he says so? What will it cost you if you say it can't be done for six months?
Your friend at the library says it's legal to use five lines (or ten, or two) from someone's poem in your new book without getting the poet's consent. Are you a literary thief if you do?
Your royalty statement and check are five weeks late. So is your rent. Should you sue your publisher before your landlord sues you?

It's wise to stand back and think through how the larger ecosystem works before you identify and deal with each legal tree in the publishing forest. You'll discover that you as a writer are a part of the whole. You share the terrain with all sorts of others, including agents, publish-

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The Writer's Legal Companion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Publishing Contract 5
  • Introduction: About Contracts and Intimidation 5
  • In Conclusion: A Little General Advice 68
  • 2 - Publishing in Magazines 69
  • Introduction 69
  • 3 - Collaboration 85
  • Introduction 85
  • 4 - The Legal Relationship Between Writer and Agent 103
  • Introduction 103
  • 5 - Watch Your Words: The Confusing Law of Defamation 115
  • Introduction 115
  • 6 - The Right to Be Left Alone: Protecting Privacy and Publicity 133
  • Introduction 133
  • 7 - What is Copyright? 143
  • 8 - Copyright Formalities 165
  • Introduction 165
  • 9 - How to Protect Your Copyright 195
  • Introduction 195
  • 10 - Tax and the Freelance Writer 201
  • Conclusion 209
  • 11 - Legal Resources for the Writer 211
  • Introduction 211
  • 12 - The Author and the Business of Publishing 225
  • Introduction 225
  • Conclusion 266
  • 13 - New Information Technologies and the Author 269
  • Introduction 269
  • Appendix a Resource Directory 283
  • Appendix B a Glossary of Publishing Terms 291
  • Appendix C Publishing Agreements 299
  • Appendix D Copyright Material 319
  • Appendix E Permissions Guidelines 331
  • Appendix F Author's Questionnaire 339
  • Index 345
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