Over the last several years I have had so many artists, writers, cinematographers, web designers and people just in general ask me about copyright. I don't really know why they ask me specifically. Maybe I look like an attorney or something? Maybe I sound smart? Maybe I know a lot about such things? Or maybe I am just another one of those people on a list that people ask for advice from? I don't know.
I have fortunately had much access to attorneys over the years as many of them were and still are clients of mine. And no, I don't give them advice on the law. But I have been known to make all of their computers stay up and running, as well as some websites. But when all is said and done, they are not all copyright specialists. Actually very few are. The one thing I did learn from all these attorneys - never give legal advice if you are not an attorney!
When people ask me about copyright, or the ever common question; "How can I copyright my work of art, script, music, etc, etc..", I always give them the same answer. "You really should seek out either an attorney or do some research on the web." "I am not a specialist in that field nor an attorney." I do know a little bit about it though. I know for example what "royalty free" means when it comes to stock footage for example. Or perhaps "rights managed". Heck, there is even that thing called "fair use". But when it comes to specifics, I don't know jack. I know a Jack, but again - that's it.
Well, now I actually have an answer. A real one at that. But I must forewarn you, it's not free. But, it is extremely inexpensive for the information at hand, and to the point that even a "starving artist" can afford it. And it will most likely be the best few bucks you ever spend to learn how to properly protect your works, either as an artist or as the recipient of any work.
Recipient????? Huh? What? Yes, there are so many misunderstandings about receiving so called "work for hire" that most are actually unaware that they do not own what they paid for. Be it photos, a website or many other pieces of work. So caveat emptor will definitely apply here!
Some additional information that is also included covers the "Public Domain" rules as well. Very cool to know, particularly if you are in the film or movie industry. And of course the newer "Creative Commons License". And last but not least - Trademarks. All very important information to have at hand if you happen to be doing anything in the creative world.
I recently purchased this information and find it to be valuable enough to give all of you a "heads up". Oh, and by the way, the author of this invaluable information is no slouch either. He is a well respected author and publisher of several books that are industry related as well as having taught at USC*.
So follow this link Protecting your Material (or click on the image below) to get your invaluable copy of this information both in .pdf and .mp3 (yes, you can listen to it on your favorite mp3 player as well!). And for you artists, this package also includes another cool bit of information - How to Write a Powerful Query Letter - in simple terms - getting your foot in the door!
*Click here to find out more about the author, Jurgen Wolff. (opens a new window)