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Copyright Clause  

The copyright holder is usually the author, but for travel guidebooks it is often the publisher. 

The copyright clause determines who shall have the right to license copies of a book.

In the USA, copyright is created automatically upon creation of a work of art or writing, and copyright is vested in the creator of the work, who may license to others the right to make copies of the work.

For most works of art (including books), the copyright holder is the creator (author), but for many series guidebooks, copyright is held by the publisher.

To some extent, this is understandable because of the nature of guidebooks. Often they are collaborative efforts, in which case it would be unwieldy for four or five authors to share copyright.

Many times a guide is originally written by an author or authors, but revised by others. A contract which gives the publisher copyright is usually termed a "work-for-hire" contract, because the author is working as a temporary/contract employee; he or she is not considered to be creating the work alone.

Having copyright in a work does not mean you "own" it, though. The other provisions of the contract may give or take away far more valuable rights than copyright. It is not uncommon for publishers to offer contracts that allow the author to retain copyright, but include clauses that take all other rights forever, rendering the author's copyright valueless.

It's always good to get copyright if you can, but its value depends on the rights you retain after you've agreed to allow a publisher to publish your work.

All About Contracts

All About Travel Guidebooks



Tom Brosnahan