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Guidelines Regarding Intellectual Property Rights

So, you’re working on the world’s greatest manuscript.  You are absolutely certain the first editor or publisher who has the great fortune to read your tome will offer you the world for the right to publish.

Your inspiration may have come from a song, a play, part of another book, or quote.  So you took the idea and ran with it.  You have spent a couple of years, a lot of ink, and a few reams of paper to birth this great American novel.

Whoa!  Hold on there, pardner!

You can’t actually do that.  That song, play, passage from a book, or quote is someone else’s intellectual property.  In order for you to use their intellectual property, you are going to have to obtain permission from those who hold the rights to that property.  You actually have to ask for permission to use their work in the body of your work.  Unfortunately, those permissions usually come at a price.

Yes, more than likely the copyright holder will ask that you pay a fee to use his or her work in your project.  It is only fair; after all, they originally produced the work to make money.  Keep in mind that as the author of your book, the burden for obtaining and paying for permissions falls squarely on your shoulders.  Publishers will not do your legwork for you or pay the fees.

Before you submit a project idea which includes other people’s intellectual properties, you should already have the permissions in place, the fees paid, and hardcopy documentation for the publisher’s perusal.

This is not to say you cannot use quotes and songs in your project; you can, but in order to use something from another source in this manner, it must be a part of the public domain.

For more information on this subject, go to your favorite search engine on the Internet and use the search terms permissions, copyright, and intellectual property.

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