Copyright Ownership Statements in Publishing Contracts

Copyright protection is automatic and attaches to qualifying works (like novels) at the time of creation. Author can—purposefully or accidentally—transfer copyright, and the attendant sub-rights therein, by contract. Any time a copyrightable work is published (by any method) the author should have a written contract governing the terms of the publication. (When self-publishing online, the “written contract” is generally the online terms of use.) Every publishing contract should contain an unambiguous statement of copyright ownership, stating that the author owns the copyright. Requiring an “unambiguous copyright statement” may sound obvious, but many authors overlook this vital contract term. The statement of copyright ownership often

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