Is Copyright Now Necessary?

Author:
Publish date:

Hi Writers,
Wow, I hate to be a buzz-kill over the holidays, but I read an alarming report in Publishers Weekly and thought it was important to share with you: Court Voids Settlement in Tasini v New York Times

Here's an excerpt:
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has thown out a settlement between freelance writers and publishers reached after a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that publishers had violated the copyright of freelance writers by using their works in electronic databases without their permission. The 2001 Supreme Court decision was reached in Tasini v. The New York Times, a case involving Jonathan Tasini, then president of the National Writers Union, and five other plaintiffs. The appellate court ruling voids a settlement that created a pool of $18 million that was to be paid out to freelance writers in an associated class-action suit.

In the 2 to 1 decision, the appellate court ruled that only writers who had registered their works with the copyright office were eligible to file claims for damage. Since the overwhelming majority of freelance writers did not register their works, the appellate court reasoned that the courts did not have jurisdiction over the dispute and were wrong to approve the class action suit as well as the subsequent settlement. However, in a dissenting opinion, Chief Judge John M. Walker, argued that registering for a copyright was more of a “claim-processing rule,” rather than a “jurisdictional prerequisite.”

If so inclined, you can read background on the case here: Tasini vs. New York Times.

Also, it currently costs $45 (ouch!) to copyright a manuscript. To learn more about copyright, here’s the U.S. Copyright Office website

Until now, Writer's Digest hasn’t recommended writers getting their own copyright, since it was deemed both costly and unnecessary. Unfortunately, we may soon have to change that stance.

Here’s my question for you: In light of this new threat to writers' rights, is it now necessary for writers to get each and every manuscript copyrighted?

Keep Writing,
Maria

incite_vs_insight_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Cleland_1:17

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!

20_most_popular_writing_posts_of_2020_robert_lee_brewer

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

Malden_1:16

Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.

writing_mistakes_writers_make_talking_about_the_work_in_progress_robert_lee_brewer

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.