Saturday, March 13, 2010

Myths about Copyright

By Christine Thackeray

I'm still preparing for that conference where I'm talking about copyright so I wanted to dispell three copyright myths.

Myth #1- When I write something, it's mine and no one can use it without my permission.

Myth #2- Getting copyright permission to use quotes in a manuscript is so time-consuming and expensive that it's just not worth it

Myth #3- Once an author dies I can use their material without permission

Answer #1- Copyright law only protects someone from publishing and selling your material. Under Fair Use people may still critique, newreport, create parody or use your material for teaching and research even if you don't want them to.

Answer #2- Most major publishers have fair use guidelines posted that may make using a quote free if you check. If you use the CCC, an online service that specializes in helping authors get permission(, you will usually have a completed contract within three days from almost anyone.(Although it can be just as fast and a little cheaper to do it yourself.

Answer #3- Recently Hollywood got into the copyright scene and a law passed that extended copyrights for the authors life plus seventy years. Yup. Your children, you grandchildren and even some of your great-grandchildren may have the joy of completing random permission forms. Whee!


Rebecca Irvine said...

This is such helpful information. Thank you for this post.