How Do I Protect My Copyright in Distributing a Preliminary Copy of a Book?
A copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects the authors of such things as books, magazine articles, plays, movies, songs, dances, and photographs. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or
phonorecord for the first time. “Copies” are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm.
Copyright protection begins from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created
the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration. Among these advantages are the following:
• Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
• Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.
• If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
• If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work,
statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
• Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.
Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright.
Please see the registration information at the following links:
A licensing agreement is a legal contract between two parties, known as the licensor and the licensee. In a typical licensing agreement, the licensor grants the licensee the right to produce and sell goods, apply a brand name or trademark, or use patented technology owned by the licensor. In exchange, the licensee usually submits to a series of conditions regarding the use of the licensor's property and agrees to make payments known as royalties.
Because of the legal ground they must cover, some licensing agreements are fairly lengthy and complex documents. But most such agreements cover the same basic points. These include the scope of the agreement, including exclusivity or territorial restrictions; financial aspects including required advances, royalty rates, and how royalties are calculated; guarantees of minimum sales; time schedules involving "to market" dates, length of contract, and renewal options; the lessor's rights of monitoring and quality control, including procedures to be followed; minimum inventories required to be maintained; finally, returns and allowances.
One of the most important elements of a licensing agreement covers the financial arrangement. Payments from the licensee to the licensor usually take the form of guaranteed minimum payments and royalties on sales. Royalties typically range from 6 to 10 percent, depending on the specific property involved and the licensee's level of experience and sophistication. Not all licensors require guarantees, although some experts recommend that licensors get as much compensation up front as possible. In some cases, licensors use guarantees as the basis for renewing a licensing agreement. If the licensee meets the minimum sales figures, the contract is renewed; otherwise, the licensor has the option of discontinuing the relationship.
Another important element of a licensing agreement establishes the time frame of the deal. Many licensors insist upon a strict market release date for products licensed to outside manufacturers. After all, it is not in the licensor's best interest to grant a license to a company that never markets the product. The licensing agreement will also include provisions about the length of the contract, renewal options, and termination conditions.
Most licensing agreements also address the issue of quality. For example, the licensor may insert conditions in the contract requiring the licensee to provide prototypes of the product, mockups of the packaging, and even occasional samples throughout the term of the contract. Of course, the best form of quality control is usually achieved before the fact—by carefully checking the reputation of the licensee. Another common quality-related provision in licensing agreements involves the method for disposal of unsold merchandise. If items remaining in inventory are sold as cheap knockoffs, it can hurt the reputation of the licensor in the marketplace.
Another common element of licensing agreements covers which party maintains control of copyrights, patents, or trademarks. Many contracts also include a provision about territorial rights, or who manages distribution in various parts of the country or the world. In addition to the various clauses inserted into agreements to protect the licensor, some licensees may add their own requirements. They may insist on a guarantee that the licensor owns the rights to the property, for example, or they may insert a clause prohibiting the licensor from competing directly with the licensed property in certain markets.
Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements are used to impose confidentiality obligations on parties receiving information on materials from disclosing parties which consider such information or material to be confidential. The agreement may contain terms that prohibit the disclosure of confidential information and competition with your business. The employment of the individual is typically considered adequate consideration to make the contract enforceable.