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Old 04-09-2011, 04:38 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Copyright wording

I am preparing the epub version of a text book for a friend, and have pointed out to him that the standard copyright notice:
'All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any form of storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.'
is not suitable for an ebook since (amongst other things) it forbids readers to make a backup copy. He has indicated that he is happy for me to design a different copyright notice. He wants to retain copyright, does not want the book to be in the Public Domain, and does not want to use the Creative Commons copyright. I want to avoid any mention of licensing.

My initial draft is:
'All rights reserved. This ebook may not be copied except for personal backup.'

If you had the opportunity to design a copyright notice what wording would you use? What else should be added to be fair to both authors and readers? I'd be particularly interested to get comments from authors.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-09-2011, 04:55 AM   #2
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Copyright notices aren't really needed anymore. Anything you create is copyrighted.

What you really write is more of a usage statement, what you allow others to do with your copyright. "All rights reserved" is basically not needed, as that's already the case unless you license out your rights...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_rights_reserved

And realistically, people aren't going to pay much attention, and people who are going to backup books are going to backup books...
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:49 AM   #3
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Thanks, Jeremy, that's helpful a helpful reference. I'll take out the 'All rights reserved bit.

And I certainly agree about backups, and about people not taking notice. The point I made to the author was that people are going to do a backup anyway, so why tell them not to do something when you know they will ignore it.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:12 AM   #4
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It may be a technicality, but you might as well try to do it right.

It shouldn't be too hard to come up with language that explicitly grants the reader the rights to make copies for personal use only, and that distribution without permission of the author is unauthorized.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:39 AM   #5
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For your own use only. Please respect our copyright.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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Hya Alex (dropped you an email earlier). And as Jeremy says, copyright notices are largely hot air. A publisher and author can introduce them as evidence in litigation only AFTER the fact of infringement (which few solo authors and small publishers can afford). On the other hand, it is as well that you fairly state up front your reasonable and (in theory) enforcable conditions. Happily, most folks play the game if the publisher does. Cheers. Neil
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:05 PM   #7
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You could try:

"This ebook may not be reproduced or copied except for the use of the original purchaser."

And if you'd like, add:

"If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient."

Though I agree with what the others have said, most people don't actually read it.

I saw one that said something along these lines:

"This book may be reproduced freely provided that it is reproduced in its entirety."
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:06 PM   #8
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A legal copyright notice is "© [year] [author]." Nothing else is required for full legal rights. (Actually, that's probably not required for full legal rights, but it can help in the case of lawsuits.) Adding "all rights reserved" is legally meaningless, but can inform people that this is not a Creative Commons or other open-for-use release.

Including restrictions that aren't in the scope of copyright law ("no part of this book may be reproduced without written permission" etc.) is just an announcement that whoever wrote the copyright page doesn't know how copyright law works.
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:43 AM   #9
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The primary purpose of a copyright notice is that it makes it easier to defeat an "innocent infringement" defense in the event you sue someone for infringement. This can affect damages awarded. Other than that, it's of little practical value these days. It's far more important to register the copyright, and that only if you think there's a realistic chance it will be worth suing someone for ingringement.
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Old 04-10-2011, 04:51 AM   #10
AlexBell
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Thanks again to you all, and especially to Neil of BeWrite books. I'm going to use a shorter version of the copyright text in his books.

'This ebook is sold on condition that it shall not be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the copyright owner's consent, and without a similar condition being imposed on a subsequent purchaser.'

unless anyone comes up with something better.

This completely sidesteps my original concern about making backup copies for ones personal use, but still maintains the rights of the author.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:16 AM   #11
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Note that whatever the copyright notice says, it's not (I believe) legally enforceable. The notice is just a reminder of what the law may allow or forbid, but the law is not one and immutable.
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