Important copyright issues to consider when writing a book

Copyright law is important to consider when writing your book as it could mean you are left with a hefty fine, and could even mean you have to redo your book.

Copyright issues to consider when writing your book include:

  • Quotes: If you are quoting people remember to attribute it and put the text in quotation marks.
  • Images: If you are using images that are not your own you need to make sure you have copyright or are licenced to use them. Ensure to get in writing that you have copyright. If you are only licenced to use the image (e.g. you’ve purchased the image off of a website such as shutterstock), then you need to make sure that the licence allows you to use the image in a book or as part of a book cover.
  • Small Extracts: You are allowed to quote a small extract from a published work without getting printed permission provided you attribute the original source and copyright owner.
  • Poetry: the copyright laws for poetry are slightly different and you may not quote even a single line without permission. You have to ask permission from the copyright owner (often this is the writer) to quote this before you publish.
  • Main text: If you are discussing other people’s studies or copying wording from another book/magazine/article etcetera, then remember to attribute anything you quote and to give a reference to things you refer to but haven’t quoted.
  • Website: If you have a website for your book or for yourself as an author then remember the same copyright laws apply. Some companies have web crawlers that can search for their images across the internet, so that they can send you hefty fines for stealing their artwork.
  • Your Copyright: Always assert your copyright to your own material by using (Copyright © YOURNAME DATE)