Contract Template for Graphic Book Cover Artist
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4d ago
Two iconic book covers that later became the posters for the film adaptations Dear Rich: My company is wanting to hire an illustrator to do the cover of our travel book. We want to pay this person a one-time, flat fee to do this work, and they wouldn't retain future royalties or intellectual property of the work. Is there a contract template for this scenario? Below is a sample agreement that's based on our downloadable work-for-hire contract on our Crafts Law website. (You can find an explanation for the provisions at the site as well.) A work-made-for-hire agreement ..read more
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Does Renewal Apply to Both Published and Unpublished Works?
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4d ago
Dear Rich: A song was first copyrighted in an “unpublished” form in 1950, and subsequently, in the same year, the same song was copyrighted in “published” form. The published registration was renewed in a timely fashion. The unpublished copyright was not renewed. Does the renewal of the published work protect the rights of the composer? Or does failing to renew the unpublished version put the song in the public domain? If the copyright was renewed, it’s protected for 95 years from the first publication. If the music was published in 1950, it wouldn't become public domain until 2045. It doesn ..read more
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Natural v. Synthetic Tests: Copyright-Protected?
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2w ago
Dear Rich: I have a website that helps people determine whether jewelry and gemstones are natural or synthetic. I am redoing the site and want to eliminate some of the sources listed for the various tests. I've changed the wording so that it is not similar to the source material, but it is still the same test. I would like to know if this is fair use, as many of these tests are standard practice in the industry. Also, we've created something original because we are taking points from various sources and compiling them with our own explanations to create a relatively unique webpage. &nb ..read more
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Police Photo: Public Domain or Fair Use?
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3w ago
Dear Rich: I want to use a police plane crash accident photo in my book. It was released to the press and has been published in many news outlets attributed to the department. There are no privacy issues - no vehicle/person/property is identifiable. May I use it? Is it public domain or fair use?  Public domain? Although state and local police are not prohibited from claiming copyright in their photos the answer depends on the state where the police department is located. Some states like New York, Illinois, and Michigan (called "closed copyright" states) actively pursue copyri ..read more
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No Registration at Time of 'Infringement'
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2M ago
Types of Creative Commons licenses Dear Rich: I reproduced a Creative Commons photograph on my blog. The photographer posted the picture to use for free. A few weeks later, I got an email from a company representing the photographer saying that I was infringing because I didn't list the photographer's name. They wanted $750 to settle. I took the photo down immediately. I asked for proof that they owned the copyright, and they wrote back that the registration was pending and that I had 21 days to respond before they handed it over to their attorneys. The not-so-good news ..read more
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Compulsory Licensing vs. Exclusive Licensing
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2M ago
Dear Rich: I was wondering how compulsory licensing fits with exclusive licensing. In other words, if a song is exclusively licensed for a movie, for example, can someone still license it to record another version? I remember reading somewhere about some songwriters setting licensing fees so high as to exclude many. Excluding statutory fees, is there any standard for such song license fees, or is it completely “willy-nilly”?  A license agreement is exclusive if you are the only person who has the right to use the work as described in the agreement. For example, if you enter into an agree ..read more
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How Do I Locate Image Associated With a Copyright Registration?
Dear Rich Blog
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6M ago
Dear Rich: If I'm provided with a registration number of a copyright of a visual art, how can I check its image? I have tried searching on www.copyright.gov, but the result doesn't include the image. The Copyright Office Public Records Portal does not provide copies of the images, books, movies, or other copyrighted materials that are registered under copyright law. These works are considered deposit materials (because the registrant deposits copies with the Copyright Office) and you must request them from the Research and Certification Section. (Keep in mind, the Copyright Office d ..read more
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Can I Publish Interior Photo of Museum Without Permission?
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6M ago
Interior Entrance to the Department of Interior Dear Rich: Do we need any kind of release to use a photo of an interior entrance in a new and very famous museum for use in a print-only format. The topic of our publication is the museum. The authors found the image on the web. I can’t find any caption with credit / © language . . . on the web. Getting permission from the photographer would eliminate any risk resulting from your publication. But if you can't get permission,  you may have a reasonable fair use argument. Fair use. Reproducing the image without the copyright owner's p ..read more
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Why Won't Playboy Grant Cartoon Rights?
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8M ago
Dear Rich: Playboy Rights & Permissions recently denied us permission to use a Playboy cartoon in a print only, low number of copies, scholarly publication. The reason stated is “ I am sorry but the cartoon by [famous cartoonist’s name] that was originally published in the [month & 1965] issue of Playboy is not available for third party licensing.” What can I infer from that statement? I wonder does Playboy hold exclusive rights to that cartoonist's work? Do they know the rights status? I'd like to find a way to use the cartoon but not if it means taking a risk with an entity like Pla ..read more
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Is Artist's Permission Required to Reproduce Artwork in Exhibition Catalog?
Dear Rich Blog
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9M ago
Dear Rich: As the representative of a particular (living) artist, I was recently contacted by the organizer of an exhibition in which original art pieces owned by various collectors will be on display -- including my client's art. Photos of the art will be included in an exhibition catalog that will be made available for sale to patrons of the exhibit. Because these catalogs will be sold, the organizer of the event has requested my client's permission for said art to be included (my client will not be compensated). In this particular situation, is my client's permission actually necessary? Ye ..read more
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