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The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know Paperback – Sep 7 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: NOLO; Eleventh Edition edition (Sept. 7 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413316174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413316179
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #353,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Amazon

Copyright law is a complex field, and it's crucial for writers to understand what's entailed. Stephen Fishman covers what a copyright is, how it's created and protected, limitations and transfer of ownership, how long it lasts, and what copyright infringement is all about. There are chapters on copyright registration, copyright notice, and how to deal with errors or omissions. Fishman also wades into the issues of derivative works and compilations, works for hire, and jointly authored works. He also tackles the confusion of copyrights in the online world of electronic publishing; the book is worth its price for this chapter alone. The appendix contains a variety of sample forms and blank forms and a PC-formatted disk of the same material. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Fishman received his law degree from the University of Southern California in 1979. After stints in government and private practice, he became a full-time legal writer in 1983. He has helped write and edit over a dozen reference books for attorneys. He is the author of Software Development: A Legal Guide, Copyright Your Software, The Copyright Handbook, Consultant & Independent Contractor Agreements, Wage Slave No More: Law & Taxes for the Self-Employed, and Hiring Independent Contractors: The Employer's Legal Guide, all published by Nolo. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harinath Thummalapalli on Aug. 10 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of more than 30 Nolo books I have been using for the last 3 years in my small business. As usual, Nolo doesn't disappoint in this comprehensive book on copyright law and instructions on how to protect your written works.
The book comes with many tear out forms with the electronic versions of the forms on CD-ROM. Common and not so common topics are addressed. I was immediately interested in the Chapters on Copyright Basics, Copyright Notice, and Copyright Registration. These three chapters gave me the most vital information I needed to know about Copyrights. For example, I didn't know that works don't need to be registered to be protected by the Copyright Law but if registered with the Copyright office in a timely fashion, the owner gets some special benefits in the case of copyright infringement. I also understood the different treatment given to published and unpublished works.
The sections on copyrights in the online world was of even greater interest to me as I am in the process of creating some websites with online content. I had not known that I could register my online work (as long it met the same requirements for registering copyrights on normal works). The chapter on online works also has detailed information on how deep links are treated, etc.
The section on Fair Use was very helpful as it explained as clearly as possible the circumstances under which you CAN copy a copyrighted work as long as it met the Fair Use guidelines.
Even the less frequently researched topics like 'Transferring Copyright Ownership' and 'International Copyright Protection' are addressed in sufficient detail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "mikegoad" on Feb. 10 2002
Format: Paperback
After doing quite a bit of research on the internet on copyright law, I purchased several copyright related books. The best of the bunch, in my mind, is "The Copyright Handbook," by Stephen Fishman, written to address copyright as it applies to written works. Published in March, 2000, the 5th edition of this book is still up to date with the copyright law of the United States.
Fishman does a good job of simplifying complicated issues. This is consistent with the goal of the publisher, Nolo, in publishing "quality law books & software for non-lawyers�" that are "easy to use."
Included in the book are segments on issues and topics such as what is covered by copyright, what works are protected, duration of copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act, fair use, electronic publishing, and protecting works on the internet.
I keep my copy on a shelf just above my computer that I can readily reach when copyright questions arise.
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Format: Paperback
There's no substitute for a good copyright attorney when you have a problem on your hands, but for the everyday business of securing and registering your work, you can't go wrong with this book. There's even a good chapter on the confusing field of cyberspace copyright, and international copyright treaties are given adequate due.
But the book either overreaches or doesn't do enough, depending on one's point of view. The title of this book explicitly states that the subject is written works. However, the discussion on "moral rights", although brief, seems very pointless because moral rights apply to artists, not writers. Similar irrelevancies pop up here and there. The upshot is that this book is for visual artists as well as writers, while giving short shrift to musicians, architects, and others who need a book such as this for copyright issues as well.
The solution, of course, is either to make this book just for writers and eliminate the extraneous stuff, or to make the book more inclusive and provide tips for all types of copyrighted material. Making the book more inclusive wouldn't even require that much more work.
So, writers and artists, get this book as soon as possible. Everyone else can benefit from its tips as well, but should at least check out the Library of Congress's website for further details that the book misses.
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Format: Paperback
Fishman has taken the very complicated world that is copywrite law and simplified it in this text. The book itself is easy to read, well organized, and gives practical, interesting, and topical examples to highlight the explanations of the caveats of the law. For each example Fishman has sighted one to two, sometimes more, cases for reference. The cases range from 1934 (was the oldest I saw) to 1996, but examples of real-life situations are given of events more recent than 1996. Overall, this will help anyone who needs to learn about copywriting (specifically) the written word understand that better. This book is great for authors of all kinds, lyricists, scientists, etc.. who want to know if their material is copywriteable or not. The best part is that not everyone will have to read every chapter to find out the information that applies to them. The discussions on public domain are wonderful, and some of the highlights of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 45 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The best handbook on how to protect and use written works. Aug. 10 2003
By Harinath Thummalapalli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of more than 30 Nolo books I have been using for the last 3 years in my small business. As usual, Nolo doesn't disappoint in this comprehensive book on copyright law and instructions on how to protect your written works.
The book comes with many tear out forms with the electronic versions of the forms on CD-ROM. Common and not so common topics are addressed. I was immediately interested in the Chapters on Copyright Basics, Copyright Notice, and Copyright Registration. These three chapters gave me the most vital information I needed to know about Copyrights. For example, I didn't know that works don't need to be registered to be protected by the Copyright Law but if registered with the Copyright office in a timely fashion, the owner gets some special benefits in the case of copyright infringement. I also understood the different treatment given to published and unpublished works.
The sections on copyrights in the online world was of even greater interest to me as I am in the process of creating some websites with online content. I had not known that I could register my online work (as long it met the same requirements for registering copyrights on normal works). The chapter on online works also has detailed information on how deep links are treated, etc.
The section on Fair Use was very helpful as it explained as clearly as possible the circumstances under which you CAN copy a copyrighted work as long as it met the Fair Use guidelines.
Even the less frequently researched topics like 'Transferring Copyright Ownership' and 'International Copyright Protection' are addressed in sufficient detail.
All in all, this is a very important book if you have any kind of work that you want to copyright or if you are considering the implications of copying somebody's work under the Fair Use guidelines. The book is by no means an easy read but Nolo does an excellent job of explaining this fairly complicated subject in plain English for the ordinary person (which seems to be the goal in all of their books). I went to the Nolo website for the latest information on the Copyright Law and wasn't disappointed there either. They have a terrific FAQ section that explains in great detail some of the latest information pertaining to the Copyright Law (especially as applicable in the online world).
I hope you are able to benefit to the same extent that I did, and good luck!
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Copy This! April 1 2007
By Christian Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to grit my teeth in anger when I think of all the wasted hours I've spent reading web site and magazine articles written by people who had no idea what they were talking about in regard to the often confusing world of copyright law.

The simple purchase and reading of Fishman's book would have saved me all that time, trouble, and confusion. He does a great job of laying out everything I've ever wanted to know about copyright law, in understandable terms...and alleviates any doubt by presenting brilliantly clear "examples" of almost every point.

If you want to learn as much as possible about copyright, without having to spend years becoming a copyright attorney, this is the book for you.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
My Copy is Getting Dog-Eared Feb. 10 2002
By "mikegoad" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After doing quite a bit of research on the internet on copyright law, I purchased several copyright related books. The best of the bunch, in my mind, is "The Copyright Handbook," by Stephen Fishman, written to address copyright as it applies to written works. Published in March, 2000, the 5th edition of this book is still up to date with the copyright law of the United States.
Fishman does a good job of simplifying complicated issues. This is consistent with the goal of the publisher, Nolo, in publishing "quality law books & software for non-lawyers�" that are "easy to use."
Included in the book are segments on issues and topics such as what is covered by copyright, what works are protected, duration of copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act, fair use, electronic publishing, and protecting works on the internet.
I keep my copy on a shelf just above my computer that I can readily reach when copyright questions arise.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Simple, Understandable. July 15 2000
By Kharmic Tide Pool - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fishman has taken the very complicated world that is copywrite law and simplified it in this text. The book itself is easy to read, well organized, and gives practical, interesting, and topical examples to highlight the explanations of the caveats of the law. For each example Fishman has sighted one to two, sometimes more, cases for reference. The cases range from 1934 (was the oldest I saw) to 1996, but examples of real-life situations are given of events more recent than 1996. Overall, this will help anyone who needs to learn about copywriting (specifically) the written word understand that better. This book is great for authors of all kinds, lyricists, scientists, etc.. who want to know if their material is copywriteable or not. The best part is that not everyone will have to read every chapter to find out the information that applies to them. The discussions on public domain are wonderful, and some of the highlights of the book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Plagirism Problems March 30 2006
By Carmen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I hire work-for-hire writers to create story anthologies and have become increasingly frustrated by the tendency of many to liberally "borrow" the written words of others found via the Internet. This book's chapters on Copyright Infringement and Copyright in the Online World have been invaluable resources that I have used to educate both myself and my writers. The author has wonderful tools for assessing and evaluating similarities between two texts, a test for paraphrasing, sample legal cases and judgments, letters to send to copyright violaters, an examination of liability issues, and more.

I routinely purchase an updated copy of this handbook every few years. The blank forms in the Appendix and the accompanying CD are worth the price of the book alone. The author does a great job of covering copyright basics, copyright notice, and copyright registration. The book offers easy-to-understand explanations of some pretty complex legal issues. You should be able to find answers to your copyright FAQs here. Very thorough and a bargain, especially when you consider what a lawyer charges. I'm not advocating that you don't avail yourself of a lawyer when necessary, but it pays to do your homework and understand the issues, and with this book you can.


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