Before You Sign | Copyright Crash Course

15 September 2017 Before

The British Copyright Council publishes a single-page basic guide to copyright in the UK, called the Copyright Highway Code, handy for outlining how copyright works to creators, publishers and consumers.

"We are delighted to be able to offer this guide to all users of copyright from schools and businesses to creators. There is a clear need for a simple guide to combat myths, to ensure that people know the value of their creations and to encourage simple and hassle free copyright observance."

Chief Executive Nicola Solomon

As part of the SoA's ongoing campaign, this month our Chief Executive visited Stockholm to discuss the proposed EU Copyright Directive, which aims to improve accounting clauses and balance unfair contracts.

Top tips

We advise authors to retain copyright wherever possible. Publishers sometimes insist on taking copyright (e.g. for a non-fiction work by multiple contributors, or an update to an existing textbook). The implications of assigning copyright or waiving your moral rights are serious and could mean:

  • You have no control over any changes, alterations or additions to your text;
  • Your work can be used in any form or medium without payment or notification to you;
  • You have no right to be involved in revising or adapting the work for new editions;
  • You have no right to be credited when your work is used;
  • Copyright can be sold on without your consent;
  • Copyright will never revert to you even if the book is out of print or the publisher ceases to exist;

Depending on the nature of the work and your role, you may be able to get contractual assurances to help with these points - and we can help. Always contact the SoA if you are asked to assign copyright.

For further guidance on contract terms see our quick guide to publishing contracts.


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