The art of writing as a career is a free expression of your thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and imagination for a profit.
However, as liberal as this profession may seem, it still has to play by the rules.
Writers can sometimes find themselves in need of legal support if they are not aware of the industry’s general do’s and don’ts.
Here Are 5 Issues Authors May Need Legal Support to Address
1. Copyright Issues
The best way to avoid copyright is to only publish your own work, but what about when you need something to support your writing?
This may be an image or a fact to add some credibility to the article or book you are working on. Always reach out to the source you want to cite.
When in doubt, use a trusted third party or practice Fair Use.
Instead of finding a random image from a search engine, sign up for a stock image or hire a photographer to your own private stock.
2. Trademark Infringement
Trademark infringement may unintentionally cause you to need legal support. It is the unauthorized use of a trademark or brand in connection to something which may cause confusion.
Have you ever told someone to “just Google” a random fact, or “use a Kleenex” to blow their nose? This may be fine for the trade infringement.
If you are ever writing about a real-life situation in which someone is using a brand, try to create a fictional alternative to avoid needing legal support.
3. Privacy Rights
Another thing to be cautious about when relating true stories is the respect for privacy protection.
The United States has specific rights about disclosing another person’s private information such as medical or financial situations. Also, consider personal matters which may be considered sensitive or embarrassing.
Ask yourself if you are the subject how it would feel to have your private business counsel before publishing.
4. Contract Challenges
When working with a publisher, always double check the contract negotiations and rights.
Are you signing away movie and television rights? How much control will you have in the editing process before the final draft is confirmed?
The best way to avoid needing legal support is to have a consistent, open line of communication with publishers.
When both parties understand submission deadlines, revision guidelines, and updating rights, the smoother the writing process becomes.
5. Registration of Your Copyright
Copyright exists as soon as you put something out in the world. Whether it be as a freelance writer, online blogger, or published author, the moment you put your name on it, it’s yours.
You reserve the right to authorize others to use your words and information. However, sometimes copyright issues arise.
The best way to protect your writing is to register your copyright. This may require some legal funding, but it is well worth the investment; it’s like insurance for your work.
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