Saturday I attended the November meeting of Phoenix Writers Club. The speaker was an attorney turned writer turned attorney who helps writers. Here’s a few things, in my own words, of what I learned:
After a lengthy disclaimer for the Arizona bar, Laura Kirwin, gave some valuable advice for writers and a question and answer format.
Titles are not copyrightable.
You can’t libel the dead.
An idea can’t be copyrighted, only the manuscript.
The “poor man” copyright of sending yourself a sealed copy of your manuscript no longer applies. And not necessary. The same as putting the copyright symbol. Once something is created it is copyrighted.
The “fair use” anecdote doesn’t really apply. In short there is no set amount. If you have any questions about the use of something consult an attorney. Also, you can find a lot of useful information at copyright.gov.
The laws have not been able to keep up with the quick pace of media publication. This has produced a large gray area. Some questions won’t be answered until the issue is before a judge. Be careful but don’t let it stop you.
Learn more about the Phoenix Writers Club at: