Our guest this week is Intellectual Property Rights attorney, Karen J. Bernstein hosted by Roxanne McHenry. She covers the critical topic of copyright and trademark laws for the self and indie author.

Although Berstein discusses an author’s copyright and trademark rights during the podcast, the information provided should not be considered legal advice, nor does it replace the services of a licensed intellectual rights attorney.

Listen to the full podcast HERE.

The Legal issues of Self-Publishing

As a writer we occasionally may want to utilized brand names or lyrics in our work. Without thinking we compare the strength of the school geek as “tough as Kleenex”, or as the hero sets out on a new venture he hums “On the road again. It’s great to be on the road again…”

In the past authors didn’t scrutinize their work for intellectual property rights issues. Their publisher handled all the legal issues for their author clients, but using an in-house attorney. The manuscript would be evaluated and modified for any anomalies, that were considered copyright or trademark infringement.

Now that self publishing is rampant, authors need to be extra diligent in knowing and obtaining copyrights for use, as well as knowing their own rights for protection.


A few questions Bernstein covers in the podcast include:

  • What is copyright and how to get one that is defend-able?
  • Where is your copyright effective beyond the US or other countries?
  • Can you use a trademarked brand name in your manuscript?
  • What about using music lyrics or photos in your book or video?
  • What is a trademark and how is that different from a copyright?

If in doubt or have more complex questions regarding your intellectual property, Unruly Guides recommends contacting an Intellectual Rights Attorney, such as New York Attorney, Karen Bernstein.

About Karen Bernstein

You can contact Berstein from her website at KarenBernsteinLaw.com.

“Writer Copyright and Trademark Basics with Attorney, Karen J. Bernstein- Unruly Guides.” Audio blog post. Writer Copyright and Trademark Basics with Attorney, Karen J. Bernstein- Unruly Guides. UnrulyGuides.com, 21 Nov. 2010.  <http://www.unrulyguides.com/2010/11/copyright-trademark-laws-for-authors-writers/>.