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Copyrights and Permissions

Helpful how-to's for editors and authors

by Anne Wallingford, WordSmith

May I Have Your Permission, Please? Who cares about copyrights and permissions, anyway? "I haven't written a book," you say. But have you ever written a letter to the Editor of a newspaper or magazine? An OpEd article for your local newspaper? No? What about a letter to a friend? A homework essay? Posted a comment on a blog? For that matter, have you ever written your own blog? Then you SHOULD care.

$     U.S. Copyright Law protects all of these forms of writing, and so many more. And where there is a law, there's money involved. There's not always big bucks involved—although there can be—but wouldn't an extra $50 or $100 be nice to have?
     Do I have your attention now?
     If you've read this far, I'm guessing you are interested in learning more about copyright and how one goes about obtaining or granting permission to use copyrighted material.
     If you just want general information about copyrighting, then the section "Copyright Basics" is for you.
     If you are an author, especially a textbook author, I strongly urge you to read the posts in "Permissions: The Why and The What" as well as "Copyright Basics."
     If you are trying for the first time to obtain permissions, the links "Asking for Permissions, Step by Step X" will walk you through the basics.
     If you decide you want to read everything, start at the top link and go down from there.
     And of course, your comments, ideas, and questions are always welcome!

Anne

    My former blog Copyright and Permissions, was where I had started explaining basic copyright information, such as the history of U.S. Copyright Law, and the steps for obtaining permission to use copyrighted materials. Unfortuately the previous blog where I posted everything shut down, but little by little entries are being reposted to this Web site, Copyrights and Permisssions. This is an ongoing project, so if what you're looking for isn't posted yet, just drop me a note (Anne Wallingford) and I'll e-mail the information to you.

    Summary of links at left
  • Copyright Basics
    Topics include: "The History of U.S. Copyright Law," "What Exactly Is a Copyright," "When Is An Author Not An Author," "The Copyright Legend," "Fair Use Guidelines for Authors," "Cartoons and Copyright," "The Sonny Bono Act Extends Copyright Terms," and more.

  • Permissions: The Why & the What
    Topics include: "If You're a Textbook Author," "Why Can't I Just Use Footnotes," and more.

  • Asking for Permissions, Steps 1 & 2
    Topics Include: "Step One: What Do You Have, What Do You Need," "A Rose By Any Other Name? Identifying a Title," "The Source. It's Really Quite Simple," Step Two: It's Off To Work We Go," "Far From the Paperless Society," and more.

  • Asking for Permissions, Step 3
    Topics Include: "Step 3: Who Holds the Copyright," "You Have a Name—Now What ," "Making the 'Rights' Choice," "Tracking Down the Copyright Holder for a Cartoon," and more.

  • Asking for Permissions, Step 4
    Topics Include: "Decision Time—What Rights Do You Need," "Electronic Rights—What Are My Choices, and more. Upcoming posts will include a sample of a permission request letter and form.

Copyright 2012 Anne Wallingford

Anne Wallingford, Wordsmith

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