The Know Your Rights Blog

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*Originally published 8/30/2016, updated June 26, 2020.


You've created your material and sent it out into the world, whether in a print edition or simply "out there" on your blog or website. You have loyal customers and fans. But what do you do to make certain that someone unscrupulous doesn't take your material, adopt it as their own, and put it out into the world as a competing product?

Searching for infringing uses of your images, art, or writing on the web can be a daunting project. Simply typing in the title or description of your work into a search engine will likely bring back matches, several of which may be infringing.


Then, the process of notice-and-takedown begins. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA Act) allows for copyright holders to follow a process to notify and request that infringers remove illegal content from their sites. You really don't need another person involved to send a DMCA letter, but if you are unfortunate to have your material copied in multiple places, it may be like a game of whack-a-mole to get all of that illegal content removed. Many artists, photographers, writers and even publishers do not have the resources to tackle this kind of monitoring and pursuit beyond an ad hoc basis.

Companies and services exist to help content creators more easily find infringing material and issue notice. Case in point, a product listed in this article purports to assist photographers find their material online (for free). Others, such as DMCA.com sneakily adapt the moniker of the original law to promote their services to publishers (for a fee).


Buyer beware, of course.

What should you do? So set realistic expectations for what you want accomplished when you contract with any new anti-pirate service or company. Consider whether there is one product in particular that you feel has been infringed on most? Does that product contain the heart of your mission or is your reputation at stake as a result of the infringing activity? Is the investment in time or money worth pursuing pirates and bad links?

Ultimately, when it comes to protecting your intellectual property, your best move prior to engaging a service to pursue infringing material online is to register the work with the US Copyright Office. Without that record, any DMCA takedown that ultimately results in an infringement suit will likely sit dead in the water (and there is not yet a small claims court for copyright).


#copyright #infringment #online #DMCAact #DMCA #noticeandtakedown #CASEAct

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  • MJ

You're ready to license rights to your titles. But how do licensing activities fit into your publishing timeline?


As your spring and summer titles release to consumers, licensing professionals like us continue to push for additional placements for your list.


But it's also time for us to start tending to your 2021 releases.




Yes, 2021.


Although it might *feel* premature to be thinking about licensing opportunities for books that are publishing post-holiday rush and up to almost a year from now, your potential licensees are starting to make their inquiries, and will close their first selections within a few short months. As a reminder, generally, the spans and selection times for licensees like book clubs, audio publishers, and even foreign rights follow this pattern: Titles publishing July through December ("fall"): Pitches begin in January, and selections first selections are complete by early March. A few licensees may select for late in the season through April or May. Titles publishing January through June ("spring"): Pitches begin in May, and first selections generally are complete by the end of July, though some will continue to select for late in the season through October. This means that the window is starting to close for spring 2021 titles (although there's still plenty of time for serial, foreign, and other rights). From this timeline, you can see that we are beginning to enter prime time for spring 2021 selections. What does this mean for your list? Ideally, we like to have preliminary materials for spring 2021 (i.e., bibliographic information, initial sell sheets and sample chapters) in hand for our first inquiries starting in May or June, with early manuscripts and other marketing material following in June and July. This does not mean that we can't pitch outside of these seasons*, but the chances for more positive inquiries go up if we start pitches earlier. To that end, we would like your preliminary list of titles for 2021 as soon as possible! *The timeline for international inquiries is a bit different. These tend to run year-round, and they are driven by buzz and good reviews and advanced materials as well as strong marketing plans. We'll write more on international licensing in a future post.


It's important to keep your licensing professional updated on any new reviews, big marketing opportunities, and other materials available as you have them. For example, here at GPC, we are updating our international partners constantly.


Have questions, or have a title you want us to pitch for licensing? Get in touch!


#licensing #publishing #subsidiaryrights

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  • MJ

We wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2020. All of us here at GPC look forward to serving you again soon in the new year. Until then, we hope you have a restful winter holiday.


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