April 02, 2011

Plagiarism & Legalese: Issues Every Author Should Investigate


by Max Nightjar

Greetings fellow authors, illustrators and publishers,

     How much time should an author spend protecting his copyrighted works from infringement, and his book from plagiarism?
     I recently went in search of answers to these questions after reading about an author in New York City, who sued her literary agent, (at the supreme court level), after the agent published her cookbook in her (the agents) name. Basically, she told the author the deal fell through, then published the book.
     That's pretty bold. Blatant plagiarism should carry an automatic jail sentence if the person is convicted and found guilty. That is someones business, and lively hood, and the long hours put into a work should not be blown off or pooh-poohed like most white collar crimes. The thought of handing your work over to someone who is suppose to be representing you... Well, that type of betrayal is pretty frightening don't U think?  It's the second article I've read about plagiarism.  Sorry to report it's common in the entertainment industry. The other incident involved a screenwriter and well known movie studio, where the person on the other side of the table betrayed the author/writer.
     The WGA has a large legal department to handle these cases for their screenwriters and authors however, U must be a member. To be a member you need a writing gig with a studio...or production company.
     Next week, I will reveal the results of my research into the Three Chapter Rule, copyright infringement law suits, the difference between and idea and a complete work of fiction or non fiction and how they all work together.

Take Care of U,


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