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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Ignorance Is Not Bliss: A Primer for Authors - Protect Your Work and Yourself is a nonfiction guide for writers written by Patricia Reding. Reding is an attorney specializing in Intellectual Property as well as being an educator and an author. While most of us have vague ideas about libel, slander, trademarks and copyrights, authors need to be particularly careful in understanding how each of these aspects of law affect them and their work product. The author discusses the roles of literary agents and lawyers specializing in intellectual property, and she highlights the need for authors to be proactive in protecting themselves. She covers trademarks in some detail: why they can be important; what can be registered as a trademark and how to choose one. She also demystifies copyrights and the importance of having clear licensing understandings on each aspect of your publication, including the cover.
Patricia Reding’s Ignorance Is Not Bliss: A Primer for Authors - Protect Your Work and Yourself is an important work that will go a long way for those authors who make the effort to understand the issues raised and realize that they should leave the legal aspects of publication to their lawyers. I have some familiarity with the law and was most impressed by how well Reding presents relatively arcane legal concepts in ways that those not trained in the law can easily relate to. Her subjects are well-organized and presented in an engaging and matter-of-fact manner. I especially appreciated her disclaimers about acting in any capacity as an attorney for her readers. She makes it very clear when having an attorney is necessary, and I’m hoping people listen to her on that crucially important issue.
My favorite and most compelling take from Ignorance Is Not Bliss: A Primer for Authors - Protect Your Work and Yourself would have to be the chapter on Publishing Contracts. The information and cautions found in this chapter are priceless and should help authors realize just what they are signing away in exchange for that advance. So very much rides on this legal document that many sign while still in awe over the very existence of the contract itself. Ignorance Is Not Bliss: A Primer for Authors - Protect Your Work and Yourself is most highly recommended.