In the publishing world, the concepts of “work-for-hire” and “transfer of copyright” can be challenging to navigate. Authors are often confronted in the publishing agreements by language that is vague and complicated, such as: “The work will be a work-made-for-hire as defined by the Copyright Act, but, if the work is deemed not a work-for-hire, author hereby irrevocably transfers all right, title and interest in the work to the publisher for the entire term of copyright throughout the world.”
On October 16th, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled in favor of Google and against the Authors Guild in a copyright infringement case that began 10 years ago over Google’s controversial book scanning project. Listen to a recording of The Copyright Clearance Center’s webinar, “A New High-Water Mark on Transformative Use? Update on the Google Books Case”, with attorney Lois Wasoff on the latest court rulings in the Google Books Case.
Thank you for visiting the TAA blog, Abstract. Article content is reserved to active members of the Textbook & Academic…
We’ve all been there. You have the perfect photo . . . verse . . . song lyrics . . . vignette . . . you name it . . . to open your book or a chapter within it. Having labored long and hard to locate just the thing, you are now certain that nothing else will do. There’s only one problem. It’s not yours and either you can’t determine who owns the rights, or you can’t figure out how to reach them, or they’re dead or out of business, or they won’t answer you.
Professor Charlotte Smith, an up-and-coming young entomologist, decided to write a textbook for the always-popular, upper-level course on spiders. After putting out a few feelers, she submitted a proposal to Six Legs Press, a leading publisher of books about insects. Six Legs loved the proposal and offered Professor Smith a contract. Charlotte was so abuzz with excitement—”tenure, here I come!” she yelled—that she signed the contract without even reading it.
Q: What happens if, notwithstanding your best intentions, a 3rd party photo usage restriction escapes your notice and your lapse is detected by the photographer or stock agency?
A: Steve Gillen, lawyer and partner in the intellectual property firm of Wood Herron & Evans:
“Well, about the best you could expect is that you will be deemed in breach of your contractual commitment and held to account for what you should have paid for the uses you actually made. More likely, however, is a claim that you have made an unauthorized and infringing use of a copyrighted work outside the scope of any license you might have had. In this event, the copyright owner has some very potent strategic advantages and remedies at his/her disposal: