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Copyright FAQs

Copyright Issues and Your Writing


As a writer, you want to make sure your work is protected, and you also want to respect others' rights -- and avoid getting sued. What rights do you have under copyright law? What should you avoid doing? The FAQs cover the basic issues writers face vis-a-vis copyright and offer links to the experts.

Should I Copyright My Work?

I'm about to start submitting my work, and I'm worried that an agent or editor will steal it. Should I copyright my work before I send it out to publishers, and if yes, how do I do this?

Do I Need Permission to Use This?

I have co-authored a children's book in which the main character visits major landmarks like Yankee Stadium, BB King's Blues Club, and Central Park. Do we need to get permission in order to mention these places in the book?

Is It OK to Publish an Excerpt of My Novel?

I was wondering about the copyright ramifications of having a novel excerpt published in a literary journal. For example, on the Glimmer Train website, they state that if your excerpt is selected for publication in their journal "we are purchasing first-publication rights. (Once we've published your story, you are free to, for instance, include it in your own collection.)" Does this mean that it would be more difficult for me to then find a publisher later for the entire novel?

Where Can I Learn More About Copyright?

Where can I go for more information on copyright issues?

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