Copyrights: Obtaining Permission (or not)

clipartSince making the decision just over a year ago to leave my small publisher and re-release my books under my own imprint, I’ve learned quite a lot about copyrights, both my own and those of other writers, musicians, photographers, etc. For example, just because it’s free doesn’t mean you can use it  Along those same lines, as discussed in my post Copyrights and Copywrongs, fair use may not always apply.

With this new knowledge in hand, I had to make some changes not only in my previous books, but also in one of my current works in progress. I wanted to use a quote from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, just a couple of lines, but wanted to make sure I followed the rules and obtained the appropriate permissions. I started by searching the Library of Congress database, but soon found that to be of little help. Gibran’s works have been published in so many places under so many formats, I was unable to pin down a copyright holder with any certainty. Continue reading “Copyrights: Obtaining Permission (or not)”

6 Places To Find Public Domain Images For Your Books And Blogs

mercedes tabano IIGuest Post
by Mercedes Tabano II

If you’ve been using images for any length of time, you’re probably already familiar with what a creative commons license is. These licenses are good, but mildly restrictive. However, there’s something better than a creative commons license and that’s the public domain license.

Public domain images can be used for any purpose, including commercial, because their copyright has either run out or it was never copyrighted in the first place. With public domain images, you can modify, combine with other images and even use them as a logo for your book all without requiring attribution or compensation of any kind. If you turn the image into something new (by combining it with other images or altering it significantly enough), you can even get a new copyright on your altered image. So where do you find these images? Glad you asked. Continue reading “6 Places To Find Public Domain Images For Your Books And Blogs”

Should Readers Be Able to Modify Book Content?

A company in Utah is developing an app that will selectively edit what the reader of an ebook sees, removing from their sight words or descriptions of actions deemed unacceptable.

I read the article and started ranting at the walls. As usual, the walls ignored me, so I decided if I self-censored the non-Indies Unlimited allowed words, that maybe I could turn my rant into a post. Continue reading “Should Readers Be Able to Modify Book Content?”

Licensing Music for Book Trailers

Lord Russ and the Aloha SteamtrainYou just turned on the radio and heard the PERFECT song for your book trailer. Should you:

A) Stalk Beyoncé after a concert and ask her for permission to use it;

B) Use it without permission, because no one will find out until your book becomes a bestseller, at which point Beyoncé should be thanking you; or

C) Sing it yourself so you don’t have to worry about licensing — and because your mom says you’re as good as Beyoncé, anyway.

The correct answer is none of the above. At least in the United States, if you are going to link music to video, you need synchronization licenses both from the record label that owns rights to the recording AND from the songwriter(s)/publishing company(ies) that own rights to the music and lyrics. Even if you perform it yourself and don’t need the sound recording, you still need the sync license from the latter because the composition is copyrighted. provides a good summary of the different types of music copyrights at Continue reading “Licensing Music for Book Trailers”