Cover Photo: graphic created by Stella Cabot Wilson for Catapult
graphic created by Stella Cabot Wilson for Catapult

Avoiding Copyright Infringement

This article is part of a new monthly column, "Legally Speaking." This installment discusses how to make sure you won't get in trouble for using other people's work in your writing.

de minimis


How can you avoid a claim for copyright infringement?

The Public Domain

ideaswhich is a matter of contract law, rather than copyright.


So what about attribution?


What about a disclaimer: “No Infringement Intended”?

or worse, an injunction: An order that you stop using the work without permission, which may include removing your work from sale.

Speaking of damages…

What’s the bottom line?

Jacqui Lipton is the founder of Raven Quill Literary Agency as well as a consultant on business and legal issues for creative artists. She also teaches law and legal writing at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as several online venues. She writes regular columns on legal and business issues for authors for the SCBWI, Luna Station Quarterly, the Authors Alliance, and Savvy Authors. Her book "Law and Authors: A Legal Handbook for Writers" is forthcoming from University of California Press in the fall of 2020. She is repped by Jane Dystel at DGBLM.