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Fairly Legal Says You Can’t Copyright a Recipe – They’re Only Partly Right

February 21, 2011

Tags: Fairly Legal, writing tips, patent, copyright, trade secrets

I’ve found some peace with the show Fairly Legal, about a woman they call a mediator who does nothing that even vaguely resembles mediation. The way I’ve done it (because I still like the characters and the legal issues) is that I just keep telling myself she’s something new – a unique entity in the law.

In my mind, I call her a Conciliator. The weird part is, I think there’s room in the legal system for someone like this. It would be sort of a mediator, sort of an arbitrator, and sort of an investigator. There’s nothing like this now, and I suspect that this show might spark such an entity into being. She’s closest to an arbitrator, because arbitrators can investigate to some extent and in a very limited way. So I’m not writing to complain about how they went right off a cliff on the whole mediator concept.

Instead, I’m writing about a recent show involving a barbecue sauce recipe. The conciliator (I absolutely refuse to call her a mediator) made this statement: “You can’t copyright a recipe.” I shook my head, first because if she were a mediator she couldn’t give legal advice (okay, I’m going to complain a little), but second because she was wrong.

It’s true that you can’t copyright a list of ingredients. But you can absolutely copyright ...more

8/22/10 Writing And Publishing News

August 22, 2010

Tags: book thieves, confidentiality, contracts, copyright, deceptive practices, ebooks/digitizing, free speech, libel, murder, murder victims, publishers, writers, writing tips

Which vanity publisher is being sued by 16 authors for deceptive practices? Will ignorance of copyright law be a defense? The libel tourism bill becomes a law. Plus, whose secret identity are BBC lawyers trying to hide? And what Macmillan authors need to do when they get that little contract amendment about e-rights in the mail. These and other writing and publishing headlines are in this week's Write Report.

8/1/10 Writing and Publishing News

August 1, 2010

Tags: agents, Amazon, copyright, ebooks/digitizing, plagiarism

My first review for The Writer’s Guide to the Courtroom

I’ve been
interviewed on Selling Books


The big news this week was that a literary agent cut a deal directly with Amazon to publish some e-versions of already-published books. The original publisher is claiming it owns the e-rights, and everyone else is concerned that this gives Amazon even more power. Plus, JK Rowling strikes back at latest plagiarism allegations. These and other headlines are in this week's Write Report.

7/20/10 Writing and Publishing News

July 20, 2010

Tags: Amazon, book thieves, book trailers, contracts, copyright, free speech, libel, plagiarism, royalties, self-publishing, work life balance, writers, writing tips

Big busy week for me, even though I’m on vacation. Ha!

My interview on work life balance on Women Lawyers Online is up. You can listen here

I did an article for Women On Writing titled, “Using the Law in Your Story: Character, Plot and Professions.” You can read it here.

Another article I wrote on using the law in writing is up at Selling Books

Lots of news. Which bookseller is defending a poison pill? Who's suing JK Rowling this week? Who dropped their suit against Scribd? Why did Janet Evanovich leave her publisher? These and other writing and publishing news stories are on this week's Write Report.

6/22/10 Writing and Publishing News

June 22, 2010

Tags: Amazon, contracts, copyright, discrimination, ebooks, Google, libraries, royalties

How can you protect your ideas before submitting? Should you sign a one-book or multi-book deal? How did Amazon almost put an indie publisher out of business? Are the British courts trying to fix libel law? When will the Google decision issue? Does age matter in Hollywood? These and other stories are in this week’s Write Report.

6/16/10 Writing and Publishing News

June 16, 2010

Tags: awards, contracts, copyright, free speech, libel, libraries, piracy, plagiarism, royalties, sexual harassment, vampires, writers

Why shouldn’t Bloomberg/Wiley authors sign the modifications the publisher is proposing? Which major sports bio went on sale despite threats and bookstores refusing to shelve? Which publisher is accused of sexual harassment? These headlines, plus more of the latest writing and publishing news are in this week’s Write Report.

Thanks so much to the Florida Writer's Association, which just named The Writer's Guide to the Courtroom as a finalist in the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Awards.

6/6/10 Writing and Publishing News

June 6, 2010

Tags: antitrust, book banning, copyright, ebooks/digitizing, iPad, libel, libraries, publishing news, writing tips

This week on Litopia’s podcast The Debriefer, Peter and I talked about the universal e-book format, why it matters that we don’t have one yet, and what authors can put in their contracts to make sure their books appear in all the major e-formats. This headline, plus more of the latest writing and publishing news are in this week’s Write Report.

The Write Report has been named an Awesome Blog by Writing World, the very first blog chosen for this honor. Thanks so much. What an incredible honor. Writing-World.com is an awesome website for writers.

5/25/10 Writing and Publishing News

May 25, 2010

Tags: Amazon, antitrust, copyright, ebooks/digitizing, free speech, libel, publishing news, writers

Which monarch is championing libel reform? Which publishers are killing endangered trees to make books? What does Facebook do to dissenters? Which writer is claiming Heroes stole the last season from their comic book? The headlines, plus more of the latest writing and publishing news are in this week’s Write Report.

5/5/10 Writing and Publishing News

May 5, 2010

Tags: Amazon, antitrust, copyright, ebooks/digitizing, free speech, Google, protecting sources

Which author got a grand jury subpoena to reveal sources? Does Google have an evil plan for all those books it just scanned for free? Why is J.D. Salinger turning over in his grave? What are the publishing titans up to this week in the ongoing battle over e-books? These and other headlines are in this week's Write Report

4/27/10 Writing and Publishing News

April 27, 2010

Tags: copyright, free speech, writers

Which classic is still banned in many countries? Epic fail for Everybody Draw Muhammad Day. Why you shouldn’t fall asleep with your e-reader. Don’t self-publish until you find out this major downside. These and other stories are in this week’s Write Report.

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Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired will give you the specific and relevant advice you need to face any career-threatening situation…and come out ahead.
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