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Have Questions About Contracts and/or Copyright? Ask Legal Expert Amy Cook!

  • Do you always understand what you're reading in a publishing or writing contract?
  • What do you do if you don't have a contract? What rights does a publisher or publication own?
  • Do you know what constitutes fair use of another work?
  • Can you use composite characters in a real-life memoir?
  • Do you have to get your work copyrighted in DC?
  • Can you use real people's names or real song lyrics in a manuscript?

These tricky questions about contracts and copyrights never seem to go away, because writers worry about protecting themselves and protecting their ideas. The word of legal speak is a murky one, but we at WD have the good fortune of keeping expert Amy Cook nearby. Amy is teaching a webinar called "Copyright and Contracts" on Oct. 28, 2010.

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Amy's webinar is at 1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010, and lasts 75 minutes. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 1 year.


Besides Amy's instruction on the basics of copyright and contract, she will be taking questions from all attendees and no question will go unanswered. If you have questions specific to your own project and circumstances and need an answer, ask Amy! She will guide you and make sure you are protected.

Sign up here!


  • Writers whose work is ready for sale and anticipate that they will soon be offered a contract
  • Writers who have had an unhappy experience with a publishing contract, and want to learn how to make it better next time
  • Writers whose last published work was a number of years ago and need a contracts refresher for the digital age
  • Those wanting a primer on copyright
  • Writers who need to use portions of other writers' work and are
    concerned about copyrighted material vs. public domain, fair use, and
    how to get permission


Amy Cook is an attorney who has focused on intellectual property and publishing law issues for over 17 years. She is on the board of directors of Lawyers for the Creative Arts and serves as the Managing Editor of the Chicago Bar Association's magazine, The Record. She is a frequent seminar leader, most often at Chicago's Newberry Library and also has been a presenter at the University of Chicago's Graham School of Continuing Education, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Depaul University, among others. Cook is proud to have a long association with Writer's Digest magazine, having initiated their "Ask the Lawyer" column, and wrote numerous feature articles on legal issues affecting writers.

Questions? E-mail

Sign up for Amy's webinar here!



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