Jul 5, 2013

Copyrights and Licensing and Non-Exclusive Finite Rights

Brown Thrusher
This is the bird I just saw outside my front door. I know! That thing is scary lookin'! Okay, maybe I used a little "artistic license" with the little smiley face, but he looked so evil without it. And don't think about pasting in an image from the internet. You don't know where that thing has been!

This little bird looked more like a roadrunner, but not the road runner we're familiar with, (the image of which is copyrighted, so not gonna infringe on that.) I did an internet search using that search engine, the name of which is trademarked, but has become everyday for "searching the internet". You know, the word that begins with a "G" and ends with "ogle"? Hmmm. I wonder if I just broke a trademark rule?

This is just to illustrate a problem that's gonna get worse before it gets better - Copyright and trademark infringement.

I watched this fantabulous video the other day that brushed on the topic of copyrighted work, although I don't really believe that was the point of the video.


Crap. Can I insert a link to a youtube video without being in violation of something? Hopefully I'm okay since it links to the youtube video in a separate window. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Mea culpa? Would that stand up in court? It's Latin.

I'm having this same problem when it comes to cover art for my books. The first book came out with a traditional publisher with cover art and all. No worries there, but once my publisher sold the rights to Amazon, (along with the right to use the original cover art,) well, that was still okay. But now, Amazon has reverted the rights to me. Cool. However, I don't own the right to the cover art. And to create my own cover art, well, you've seen my artistic prowess in the above bird drawing. And to purchase stock images, you really need to consult with a lawyer about the wording of your license. Are you buying non-exclusive rights, meaning someone else can purchase those rights and use them on their book cover? Are the rights only good for books published under one imprint or can you use the image for your electronic books as well? Sometimes it includes electronic rights, sometimes not. It's tricky.

I heard a news story a while back about a family who were sued for their use of the name McDonald's for their bakery. I know. That's pretty blatant infringement... until you take into consideration that this family's name was McDonald, and they can account for their family's use of the name all the way back to old Fergle McDonald of the McDonald clan, in the thirteenth century. (I used fictive license there. The story said nothing about a Fergle McDonald.) But CRAP! Am I in trouble now for using the tradmarked name, McDonald's, to make a point about trademark infringement?

(Excuse me for a moment while I walk over to the Frigida..., er, refrigerator and grab me an ice cold Coca... er, soda. And I think I need to pop a couple of Tylen..., er, ibuprofen while I'm at it, 'cause this copyright/trademark infringement thing is beginning to make my head hurt.)

I just don't know how much I don't know. For now, I'll just have to use my best judgement, and if I have a conflict, I'll just have to Gaggle it.

(I do hereby grant permission to anyone to use the image of my brown thrusher, provided you do not give me credit for it.)

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