Welcome to the year 2018! I hope everyone had a fantastic celebration the night before last and that the hangovers weren’t too bad yesterday. I am excited about this first post in this new year. We’re going to be talking a bit about copyright law and why it matters. I am just going to mention that I am going to be focusing on Canadian copyright only today. Many of the basics are going to apply elsewhere, but I do strongly urge you to go and research your area for the correct information.
So, what is copyright?
Copyright: is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.
This video also does a great job explaining what copyright is:
What does this mean for us as writers?
Well, if we want to use that amazing quote from a Margaret Atwood book in our own book – we have to pass it by her first. If she’s okay with it, then we’re good to go. She would be able to demand compensation for the usage of her words, or she would let us use them for free.
From what I understand, it’s not as big of an issue for us writers as for people who produce music, art, or photography. This is why we see many copyright infringement suits for songs or why there are watermarks over a lot of photos or art pieces found on the web. Those artists want to make sure the work they put their heart and soul into remains theirs.
So here are the links for copyrighting your property in Canada:
Check them out it will have all the information there for you to protect your work and what you need to do to gain that protection.
Also, make sure you definitely and thoroughly go over any contract you sign – preferably with a copyright lawyer. You don’t want to accidentally sign away your rights to a publisher because you didn’t read the fine print. Some publishers ask for the full rights to your work, but you do always have the choice to say no and keep the work yours – or negotiate a better deal.
Well, that’s it for me today! I hope this was informative. I wish you all the best of luck and a fantastic New Year! Don’t forget to check back here on Thursday for a post about writing a great query letter.
© Danielle Adams