COPYRIGHT LAW BASICS FOR AUTHORS

COPYRIGHT LAW BASICS FOR AUTHORS

The act of writing entails the use of imagination and originality, which represents the author’s intellectual assets. Just like any other physical or materialistic property, one claims ownership of intellectual property. In order to prevent the copying of authors’ works, there are copyright laws in place.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept that provides exclusive ownership of the work to its owner. The authors can safeguard their works by copyrighting them.  This is done at a copyright office to legalise their work. By doing so, a public record of their copyright is established, which further protects their work from infringement. In the case of someone copying their work, the author has the support of the law to take necessary legal action.

 

Why do we need copyrights?

  1. Preserve and protect artistic and intellectual property

The owner of the work has the right to control how the work is distributed and reproduced and set the expectations for monetary compensation. When talking about the usage of literary works, it can refer to their usage as references for other works. Writing is a creative art and like many other fields, it requires inspiration. Similarly, an author can most definitely not write literary works without the help of external sources.

 

  1. Protect already published works
  • It is also up to the authors’ discretion to allow other people to reference their work. In such cases, citations and reference lists are generated to give credit to the original author. Plagiarism is a serious error and is a legally punishable offence. Apart from the legal violations, it is also a matter of ethics. Any researcher or writer who knows the value of hard work would not copy others’ work.

 

  • Authors can procure permission from other published authors if they want to cite the work. Fair usage is not problematic. However, there might be conditions that vary depending on the situation. Hence, professional legal advice should be sought out in such cases.

 

Disadvantage of copyrights

On the bright side, legal protection, recognition and financial rewards are obtained as a result of copyright. However, there can also be some issues that authors might face during the process of obtaining copyrights.

 

  1. Ownership claims

One such case is when the author is under the employment of a company while authoring a book. This turns out to be problematic especially when the work is related to the employment. There tend to be challenges to the author’s claim of ownership. Sometimes, the company can take credit while choosing to compensate the author for handing over full rights of ownership.

 

  1. Keeping track

With the rise in digital media, it is difficult to keep track of works that are plagiarised. However, there are software and applications that have been developed to help combat this issue. Hence, authors can face obstacles related to the infringement of works even if they choose to cite some phrases. Unknowingly, some writers may have used the same phrases or concepts that another person has published. But even this will get flagged causing the author to be blacklisted from research/writing groups, loss of money and a tarnished reputation.

 

  1. Hinder artistic exploration

There have been cases where scholars and critics have argued about the implementation of copyright laws. One of the main controversies surrounding this topic is that copyright laws can curtail the creativity of writers. They believe that authors are being provided limited access and prevented from developing previously published works. Whether this is true or false is based on a subjective opinion and remains to be an open-ended topic.

 

  1. Restricted access

Some people also argue that copyright laws result in a lack of access, especially in the case of scholarly works. Such constraints the advancement of knowledge. In the case of fiction works too, much research is required to establish the setting of the novel. If the works are restricted, other authors too might face difficulties.

 

Conclusively, copyright laws can prove to be an arduous task for independent authors, especially the one who are new to the field of publishing. They must take the help of a trusted advisor to safeguard their works from plagiarism, receive compensation in case of joint publications, etc. Navigating the legalities might be strenuous but the incentive for your creative work is worth the effort.

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