Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Copyright Handbook by Stephen Fishman (NOLO)

The Copyright Handbook by Stephen Fishman, JD

The blurb:
What copyright law protects. . . . and doesn't.  No writers like to see their hard work or creativity copied by others -- or to be accused of copying. Fortunately, The Copyright Handbook provides everything you need to protect yourself!  Find information and forms to help you:
  • register your work
  • maximize copyright protection
  • transfer ownership of copyright
  • avoid infringement
  • deal with infringers
  • understand the "fair use" rule
  • get permission to use copyrighted work
  • profit from your copyright
The 11th edition is updated to provide the latest copyright regulations and rules for filing a copyright online.  There are over 30 easy-to-use legal forms on CD-ROM.

The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know by Stephen Fishman (11th Ed.) published by NOLO is particularly geared towards writers, as the title suggests. I found the book helpful both as an attorney who does not have much experience in the area of intellectual property law and as a writer who wants to know how to best protect ownership of the works that I create.

I have over half a dozen NOLO books and have found them to be reliable, informative and practical. I'd consider them my go-to books when I want to understand a specific area of law. The explanations are clear and geared towards the layman but without being simplistic. The NOLO guides serve as a way to prep before going to a professional. This Copyright Handbook gives you an overview and practical advice in a clear and comprehensive way.

Among the topics that the Copyright Handbook addresses are:
  • what intellectual property is subject to copyright protection, what different rights exist (reproduction right, distribution right, right to create adaptations, and performance and display rights), and who holds the specific rights
  • where to place the copyright notice and what text to use
  • how to register published books, magazine articles, newspapers, online media and unpublished material
  • how to treat works that are created in the course of employment (works made for hire), by people working together (jointly authored works), derivative works, collective works, and works created by one person
  • what works would be regarded as part of public domain, what cannot be subject to copyright protection, etc.
  • the ways to register, the advantages of preregistration of unpublished works, and the forms for registration at the Copyright Office
  • how to correct errors or change copyright notice and/or registration
  • how to transfer ownership of copyright
  • how to protect your rights against infringement, how to prevent a charge of infringement and the effect of a charge of infringement
  • an overview of federal income tax for self-employed writers but this chapter is not sufficient to prepare taxes yourself
  • when you need to obtain copyright permission and how best to approach a publisher
Among the forms included in the CD and the book are standard form of: (1) Work-Made-for-Hire Agreement, (2) Collaboration Agreement, (3) Copyright Assignment, (4) Notice of Claimed Infringement, (5) Counter-Notification, and (6) Text Permission Letter Agreement.

If you are a writer by profession or as a hobby, or if you work in publishing or want to learn more about publishing, I highly recommend The Copyright Handbook.

ISBN-10: 1413316174 - Paperback $49.99
Publisher: NOLO; 11 edition (September 7, 2011), 440 pages.
Review copy provided through the Amazon Vine Program and by the publisher.

About the Author:
Stephen Fishman is a San Fransisco-based attorney who has been writing about the law for over 25 years, with many popular titles including The Public Domain (Nolo).

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