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Kirsch's Handbook of Publishing Law: For Authors, Publishers, Editors and Agents Paperback – November, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Kirsch, a prominent intellectual property attorney and Los Angeles Times columnist, has created a clear, comprehensive, up-to-date guide to publishing law in this handbook, which follows the path of a publishing project. From protection of the original idea, coauthorship, agents, and packaging, through a clause-by-clause consideration of a typical book publishing contract, to legal aspects of manuscript preparation, copyright registration, electronic and subsidiary rights, remaindering, and reversion, this manual is as lively as it is useful. Sidebars provide anecdotes, tips, publishing "war stories," and interesting illustrations of key points. Reference librarians will find it answers many tough questions by demystifying complex legal concepts and presenting illustrative examples. Rounding out the volume is a sampling of legal forms the industry currently uses and a fine index. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.?Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Acrobat Books; 1st edition (November 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0918226333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0918226334
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Not only has this book saved me much time and money in research and legal fees, but the author makes the information accessible by offering myriad examples to back up his sage advice. I keep three books on my desk: the dictionary, the Chicago Manual of Style, and Kirsch's Handbook of Publishing Law. A classic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David A. Hall on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jonathan Kirsch is an interesting combination: he is both a novelist and an attorney. He puts both skills to use in this book by creating an interesting, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand dissertation on all aspects of publishing law. The book is highly recommended for both authors and publishers.
After a three-chapter introduction of some basic publishing law concepts, he spends almost 80 pages in chapter four going over the book publishing contract clause by clause. He examines the legal implications of each clause, the profit/loss implications for both the author and the publisher, as well as typical practices throughout the industry. Every author and every publisher should read this chapter twice!
Chapter five examines defamation and privacy issues that every author and publisher should know before they write or publish a book. Can you risk not knowing this?
After that he examines copyright, subsidiary rights, and trademark issues in detail-essential information for publishers.
A well-read copy of this book belongs on the shelf of every publisher and author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
As an editor with a small book publisher, I have found this volume invaluable. Along with basic information (written in a lively, engaging style that even makes legal issues interesting), the book contains many sidebars with answers to common questions, interesting case studies, and practical hints. Couldn't do without it
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Are you about to finish writing a book? Are you an editor, agent, publisher, or even rookie lawyer in publishing? If so, or even if you are considering publishing something- anything, really- than this book is an essential tool/workbook in navigating the potentially dangerous/potentially treasure-filled waters of the printed word industry. Do not sign any book contract- no matter how good it 'sounds'- without first reading this book. Do not quote another source in your material without understanding the possible copyright consequences as explained in this book. Do not sign on with an agent or collaborator without first studying this book. I have seen too many musicians get screwed in boilerplate recording contracts and now that I have moved into writing I am very thankful that I have found and read this book- as I do not want to be the next victim of the 'small print' of a powerful publisher or by a indemnity lawsuit due to any negligence on my part.
What Kirsch does in this publication is go through a book contract step-by-step, clause-by-clause, he 'reads between the lines' for us, he dissects the main deal points in a negotiation and summarizes the critical areas to pay attention to; he hems out publishing law as it applies to writing your book, selling your story to a publisher, and reaping your rewards without incurring a hefty lawsuit. This book is very-well formatted in a visual sense, is user-friendly, even for the publishing law novice, yet it teaches its concepts at a fairly advanced level. What more could you want?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was advertised as in "good" condition. As usual, I received it in a timely manner and it was in good condition. I have no complaints. The book is out of date in many ways which they said that it would be, but from the book I can at least understand the terms of a publishers' contract and then check against current law at the library. I just needed to understand what the contracts were talking about and this book provides that. I really appreciate the Amazon sellers and feedback sites. I have never had a problem with a purchase from Amazon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Read this before you sign your first book contract. I'm glad I did. I made this material my crash course and it paid off. - DaveDavidson.com - author
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David A. Hall on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jonathan Kirsch is an interesting combination: he is both a novelist and an attorney. He puts both skills to use in this book by creating an interesting, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand dissertation on all aspects of publishing law. The book is highly recommended for both authors and publishers.
After a three-chapter introduction of some basic publishing law concepts, he spends almost 80 pages in chapter four going over the book publishing contract clause by clause. He examines the legal implications of each clause, the profit/loss implications for both the author and the publisher, as well as typical practices throughout the industry. Every author and every publisher should read this chapter twice!
Chapter five examines defamation and privacy issues that every author and publisher should know before they write or publish a book. Can you risk not knowing this?
After that he examines copyright, subsidiary rights, and trademark issues in detail-essential information for publishers.
A well-read copy of this book belongs on the shelf of every publisher and author.
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The 1995 edition of Kirsch's Handbook of Publishing Law is an excellent introduction for folks new to publishing; it's well-organized, clear in detail and highly readable. Kirsch makes his non-trivial subject matter very accessible with clear discussion and relevant anecdotes to illustrate main points. He hits all the big points to a good (but not overwhelming) depth: idea and copyright protection, how to know who owns (or shares) copyright, dealing with agents, negotiating rights, and the all-important book contract. The chapter on the book contract is especially useful, as he steps through each clause in a template contract, discussing what it promises to whom, and describing common variations on important "deal points." The appendix includes a library of example contracts for setting up a collaboration, a work for hire, agent relationship, copyright license and more. Very useful boilerplate.

Though the edition I read has a 1995 copyright date, the material is still relevant and very useful -- though I'd sure like to see the update that his website indicates is on the way!

Highly recommended for anyone going into a publishing venture, whether as author or publisher.
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