Writers beware!

Writers, be careful with the use of photos, posters, logos, and song lyrics in your manuscripts. You may unwittingly violate copyrights.

I took a virtual course on the legal aspects of writing. I’m glad I did. It was illuminating.

You must seek permission, and even if it is granted, can be costly. I wanted to use song lyrics in my novel and contacted two publishers. Their going rates were a fee of $250 to cover x number of copies sold over x number of years. Not cheap, but probably a lot cheaper than a fine for copyright violation.

I also wanted to use a poster/trademark from a well-known company. They would grant permission, but I would have to sign a contract agreeing to purchase and maintain general comprehensive liability insurance in the amount of $1 million with their name added as an insured entity. I figured this might cost me $300-$1,000 per year. Good grief! Maybe if my novel shot to the top ten on the NYT Best Sellers’ list and stayed there for a year or two. I declined.

I know of one case in which a blog writer was contacted by a company demanding a hefty fee for using a photograph. So, even blogs are not exempt from copyright.

So, writers, take care.

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