Copyright applies to reviews too. I’m looking at YOU, Author.

For more on Entitlement in Writer Culture, read the blog post to which the below rant was my first reaction.

If you, as an author, don’t want your work pirated, your copyrights violated, then don’t do it to others. THIS INCLUDES NOT COPYING MY REVIEWS ONTO YOUR WEBSITE. (I’ve just been googling myself, finding MORE breaches of copyright and that previous breaches have not been removed after a polite request.)

I’d love you to copy the link – like Pamela Freeman – and encourage people to visit my website to read my review. YAY FOR PAM!!!

It’s taken me HOURS or even DAYS to read your book and HOURS MORE to write the review. Same for interviews; there’s research, interviewing, editing and sometimes transcribing interviews.

If you’re going to violate my copyright by copying and pasting my review on to your website, GUESS WHAT, CUPCAKE? You just hit my blacklist, that list where I go “You want another review? NO WAY.”

And don’t get me started on stolen interviews, especially recorded interviews I HAVE PAINSTAKINGLY TRANSCRIBED. I don’t care if you’re a fan website, you should POINT TO THE INTERVIEW, NOT STEAL IT.

The reason? I don’t get paid AT ALL for the hours and hours I put in. My only ‘payment’ is visitors to my website. Lots of visitors can open opportunities for media passes (resulting in more content on this website), more reviews, more interviews and – maybe eventually – paid employment.

If you’re going to violate my copyright and put my review of your work on your website so I don’t get that traffic, I’m not going to review you in the future. I don’t care WHO you’re published by. You’re OUT THE DAMN DOOR.

signed,
Grumpy Reviewer & Interviewer
(Not a cat)

 


So… because I get ‘paid’ in traffic, you think it’s ok to ignore my rights under copyright? Thanks for that clarification.

Increasingly authors are telling me on various social media platforms that reviewers don’t own the rights to reviews they have written; these authors claim AUTHORS own the rights to reviews OTHER PEOPLE have written.

In Australia, queries regarding copyright should be directed to the Copyright AgencyThe Copyright Agency says copyright applies to lots of text including webpages once written; there is no need to register to secure copyright for one’s own work.

People who want to use other people’s content thus have to get permission (a licence) from the owner of copyright.

According to various pages and downloadable documents from CAL, exemptions to copyright are

  • “fair dealing” eg a less than substantial portion (remembering Men at Work were successfully sued for using ONE LINE of a song)
  • research or study
  • criticism or review
  • parody or satire
  • reporting news
  • professional advice by a lawyer, patent attorney or trade marks attorney

CAL has considerable information including downloadable PDFs. I recommend contacting CAL and also getting legal advice, especially if you’re going to copy someone’s work without their permission to promote SALES of your book.