While I think my mentors were correct, there are some problems with copyright. In one novel I wrote, I wanted to head each chapter with a quote from Simon and Garfunkle, because they so well portrayed the era I wrote about. I wrote to an address I found in New York and discovered that Paul Simon had bought out Art Garfunkle. The quotes I wanted would cost me over one hundred dollars per chapter. Forget about it. Even though I felt the quotes would promote the work of these artists, I didn’t have that kind of money.
I don’t copyright my novels because I know they’re already copyrighted when I wrote them. I used to do that trick of mailing myself a copy of the manuscript and not opening it. That showed that on such and such a date I wrote this book. Besides, my printer copyrights my books.
Screenplays are a different matter. I guess they are more valuable and I have copyrighted with the US government three plays that Mike Oulton and I wrote.
Beginning writers worry about copyright. But no one can truly copy another person. Even if two people set out to write the same story, each has had different experiences and each has different mental views.
The message about copyright? Relax.
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