Resources for Writers
Copyright and Trademarks: Really Useful Links by Paul Anthony Shortt
If you haven’t heard of #CockyGate, I’d suggest reading up on it. It’s a matter of no small concern, not only for what it could mean to the industry to see authors trademarking common-use words just to block other authors from using them, but also in how it can instill doubt and worry over the legal consequences of the words we use.
As with every article I write dealing with such specialist subjects, none of what follows should be considered qualified legal advice. If you have concerns, you are always better off consulting a solicitor specialising in these areas.
The first thing I’ll mention is that you do not need to trademark your book’s title. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. A book title alone can’t even be trademarked; you can only apply a trademark to the name of a book series. Even so, you should concentrate on building a brand that stands on your writing, not one that relies on denying other authors the chance to create their own work.
That being said, there are certain areas of trademark and copyright law that you’d be wise to familiarise yourself with. Here’s some places to go to give you a basic understanding of your rights and responsibilities:
1: Top 5 Legal Issues for Authors and Self-Publishers – This will give you an overview of the main areas you should keep in mind as you write and prepare for publication.
2: What Authors Need to Know – Intellectual Property specialist Paul Rapp gives an expert look at the legal pitfalls and responsibilities of self-publishing.
3: How to Use Brand Names in Your Fiction – Using The Fault in Our Stars as an example, this article explains how you can safely refer to known brands in your work.
4: Copyright Information – This resource from the Irish Writers Centre explains what copyright is, how you get it, and how it can impact your writing.
That’s all for this week. Good luck.
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt