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Masterclasses / Publishing Law for Authors


publishing law for 



Next date: Saturday 4th April, 11.00am

Duration: 90 minutes

Location: Online


This class is designed to answer fundamental questions about the law surrounding writing a book and publishing it, and how it either empowers or impacts the author. This is a vital course for any author - better to get it right from the get-go, it’s essential information for any author!

1. Introduction

  • Why is it important for authors to understand their legal rights and obligations.​


2. Copyright and how it works

  • How is copyright created?

  • Can you register copyright?

  • How do you protect a book?

  • Can you protect the idea behind your book?


3. Protecting your book 

  • Practical advice and guidance on how to prove you own your book and that you wrote it. And sending a copy to yourself doesn't work!

4. Defamation - how not to get sued

  • What is defamation and slander?

  • Can you talk about real people and companies in your book?

  • Is it enough to change a person's name? Not necessarily! You will learn why  

5. Other people's Intellectual Property - how not to get sued

  • Can you use other people's intellectual property (creative work) in your own book?

  • Can you include song lyrics in your book? 

  • What is Fair Use and how does it work

  • What is the public domain?

6. Book covers and typeset files

  • Who owns the book cover

  • What does a self publishing company own and what do you have a right to use

  • Licensing images for your cover

  • Moving from one publisher to another

7. Publishing contracts

  • Typical terms in publishing contracts - the key elements of a contract

  • Difference between Traditional Publishing and Self Publishing contracts

  • Unfair terms to watch out for

  • How not to get stung!


8. Questions & Answers


Who should attend?
Every author without exception (and regardless of genre) should have a basic understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. You don’t want to come unstuck down the line because you find you’ve given your rights away, or someone has copied your book or someone you have written about is not happy about how you have portrayed them in your book.

What will you achieve?
By the end of the class, students will have a good understanding of how they can protect their books, legal contracts with publishers and how to protect themselves against defaming people (or companies) before they publish their book.

How will you be taught?
This class is taught lecture-style with opportunities for students to ask the tutor questions.

About the Tutor


your book


 know your rights


✓ what is intellectual property?



 understand publishing



✓ defamation

& slander

GARETH HOWARD will be your masterclass tutor. He is a qualified lawyer that has been working in the publishing industry for the last 15 years. Gareth qualified as a lawyer with global firm Lovells and practised corporate and commercial law.


In 2005, Gareth self published his first novel that became a bestseller. Shortly after he co-founded Authoright and Clink Street Publishing, which focuses on publishing and promoting new and unknown authors. He has been an innovator in the self publishing sector for the past fifteen years.

Gareth is a regular lecturer and speaker at universities in London - including the National Film & Television School, University of the Arts London, UCL and others - and at literary festivals and publishing events discussing the future of publishing including The London Book Fair, The Frankfurt Book Fair, The London Author Fair, BookExpo America and the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival. He was awarded a Bookseller's Rising Star in 2014. 

Being interviewed by international

publishing journalist Porter Anderson.

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