7 Questions for Authors to Ask Before Signing a Book Contract

Media and copyright lawyer Tamera Bennett presented 7 Questions for Authors to Ask Before Signing a Book Contract to the students enrolled in the "Author's Job" course presented by Creative Enterprises Studios.

Seven Questions for Authors to Ask Before Signing a Book Contract:

  1. Who owns the copyright in my book?
  2. How do I register a copyright?
  3. What are the options for publishing my book?
  4. What rights will the book publisher want?
  5. What will I get paid?
  6. When will I get paid?
  7. How can I cancel the book contract?

Bonus topics on trademark law and book publishing:

You can view the slide show above.



Media Attorney Tamera Bennett - Panelist at CWIMA National Conference 2015


Dallas-area trademark and media attorney Tamera Bennett is honored to be a panelist

at the 11th Annual -  Christian Women in Media (CWIMA) national conference.

The 2015 national conference, held in Dallas, targets female media professionals, leaders, support agencies and aspiring women. The three day event offers multiple large group and break-out sessions.  Tamera will present her thoughts on protecting your intellectual property - trademark & copyrights and other legal issues in the media world. She is honored to be a co-panelist with bestselling author, CPA, and media entrepreneur Deborah Pegues as they discuss "The Business of Media – Expand your Financial 'Know-How' to Build Your Business and Increase your Reach."

Click here to learn more and register for the conference held April 30 to May 2, 2015 in Dallas (close to the Galleria).

Attorney Tamera Bennett to Speak at Writer's Conference

Dallas copyright, entertainment and media lawyer Tamera Bennett will discuss legal topics in book deals at the Roaring Lambs' Christian Writer's Conference on Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Plano, Texas.

The ninth annual conference will feature topics such as the Art of Writing, the Power of a Great Proposal, the Differences Between Traditional vs. Customized Publishing, Creative Marketing and Social Networking, Writing Besides Books, and the Uniqueness of Your Message.

Texas copyright lawyer Tamera Bennett is honored to be included in a day filled with speakers such as Karol Ladd and Allison Bottke to name just a few of the presenters.

It's not too late to register.

Estate of Jack Kerouac: Copyrights and Forged Wills

Estate of Jack KerouacWhen author Jack Kerouac died in 1968, he left everything to his mother, Gabrielle. When she died five years later, she in turn left everything via her will to Kerouac’s third wife, Stella Sampas. For the next 19 years the Sampas family controlled Kerouac's estate.

Pursuant to a Florida court ruling in 2009, Gabrielle's will has now been deemed a forgery.  Estate of Gabriella Kerouac, 73004767ES (Pinellas Co. Probate Ct.). The Court did not declare who forged the will, just that evidence was sufficient to show Gabriella was not in good enough health to have executed the will.

Jan Kerouac, Jack's daughter by his second marriage lead the charge to challenge Gabriella's will 1) after seeing a copy of the will and questioning the authenticity; 2) after speaking with John Steinbeck, Jr. --- who told her about copyright renewals.

As of August 2010, the Kerouac case is on appeal.  For in-depth information on this case read The Battle for Jack Kerouac's Estate.

For more about the John Steinbeck case and why John Steinbeck, Jr. knows about copyright renewals under the 1909 U.S. Copyright Act read here.

Why I Like Being A Texas Lawyer

Editor's note: Billable hours. Demanding bosses and clients. Student loans. A lack of civility. We all know the cons of being a lawyer, but what are the pros? Texas Lawyer asked lawyers across the state to tell us the top five reasons they like being lawyers. Texas Lawyer will run the "I Like Being a Lawyer" column periodically in the newspaper's "Out of Order" section. Contributors e-mailed their lists, which have been edited for length and style.Top 5 Reasons I Like Being a Texas Lawyer:


1. I like being part of the Texas legal community.  The support we extend and receive reminds me of how businesses supported one another in the old town square.  The success of my legal colleagues is a reflection on me.

2. I like working myself out of a job.  As a transactional entertainment lawyer and intellectual property attorney I help clients protect and leverage their IP with the plan that someday they will sell their assets.

3. I like that most days I get to listen to great music from talented singers/songwriters as part of helping maximize their earning potential.

4. I like being my own boss.  I'm the hardest boss I have ever had, but I am able to arrange my schedule to be involved in activities, such as being a Cub Scout den leader.

5. I like finding alternative solutions to issues facing my clients.  The ability to view a situation from all angles -- and be appreciated for that skill -- is very rewarding.

Originally published in Texas Lawyer, February 16, 2009 Vol. 24, No. 46. Reprinted with permission.

Google, Book Publishers: What Could Have Happened

By Tamera H. BennettPosted October 31, 2008

In June 2006 I presented an article to the State Bar of Texas Intellectual Property Law Section on the Google Library Project. My article addressed the various defenses Google might raise and why I felt they would fail.

In view of the recent settlement in the two cases against Google, I have attached my article for a little light reading just in case you are still asking yourself "what if." Click this link to view a pdf:  Why Google Might Lose The Library Project (June 2006)

Google and Book Publishers Settle

by Tamera H. BennettPosted October 28, 2008

The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and Google today announced a groundbreaking settlement agreement on behalf of a broad class of authors and publishers worldwide that would expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search. The agreement, reached after two years of negotiations, would resolve a class-action lawsuit brought by book authors and the Authors Guild, as well as a separate lawsuit filed by five large publishers as representatives of the AAP’s membership. The class action is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

I will address this settlement in detail in a later post at

Google Press Release Official Google Blog Ars Technica Blog

Seton Hall Call For Journal Articles

by Tamera H. BennettApril 23, 2008

The folks over at Seton Hall Law Review requested I pass along the following information:

Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law Call for Submissions!

The Seton Hall School of Law Journal of Sports & Entertainment Law is seeking submissions for possible publication in future issues. If you are a law professor, other type of professor, practicing attorney, judicial clerk, law student, or graduate student who has written a substantive piece that pertains to sports or entertainment law, please consider submitting your work.

For more information or to submit a piece, please e-mail Tara Touloumis, Articles Editor, ttouloumis at Thank you!

December 07 Copyright Cases: Texas

By Tamera H. Bennett and Stephanie PrinceJanuary 14, 2007

Filings for the last month of the year were a little crazy in the copyright arena. The filings are organized by Federal District.

Eastern District

Butler v. Elsevier et al (4:2007cv00557) Plaintiffs filed suit on December 13, 2007 against Elsevier, Inc. and others alleging Defendants violated Plaintiffs’ exclusive rights in several horse hoof drawings by publishing unauthorized copies of the drawings in the Defendants’ book entitled Equine Podiatry. Plaintiffs further complain Defendants’ attempt to obtain permission in a letter sent after the publishing of Equine Podiatry and the unauthorized copies of the drawings was too late.

Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, the impounding and confiscation of all copies of Equine Podiatry, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Corbello v. DeVito (1:2007cv00985) Read summary here.

The film companies are busy filing for copyright infringement for unauthorized copying and distribution of motion pictures over the Internet in the Eastern District. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Musacchio (4:2007cv00542) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. Shedrick (1:2007cv00945) Screen Gems, Inc. v. Dews (1:2007cv00946) Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Braggs (1:2007cv00947)

Northern District EsNtion Records, Inc. v. JonesTM, Inc. et al (3:2007cv02027) Read summary here.

A1 Surveillance Systems, LLC v. Remarkable Surveillance Systems, Inc. (3:2007cv02037) A1 Surveillance Systems filed suit on December 6, 2007 against Remarkable Surveillance Systems. The complaint alleges Defendant used Plaintiff’s layout, site structure, programming, text descriptions for products and text descriptions for categories of products on its website. A1 seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

KB Home v. Antares Homes, LTD (4:2007cv00761) KB Home filed suit on December 7, 2007 against Antares Homes, LTD, Antares Homes, LLC, Antares GP, LLC, and Ronald F. Formby. The complaint alleges Formby, in his capacity as Plaintiff’s Vice President of Sales, and through later visits to KB Home’s properties in his capacity as an officer of Defendant, had the opportunity to willfully copy and did willfully copy several different KB Home plans, to which Plaintiff lawfully holds the copyrights.

The complaint further alleges Formby, through the businesses he formed, including Defendant Antares LTD, Antares Homes, LLC, and Antares GP, published simplified home plans based on copies of Plaintiff’s copyrighted designs, in brochures and on the internet; created architectural technical drawings substantially similar to each of Plaintiff’s copyrighted designs, and sold single family homes that were substantially similar to each of Plaintiff’s designs.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Southern District

McDonald v. The Motherhood Center, Inc. (4:2007cv04188) Shannon McDonald filed suit on December 10, 2007 against The Motherhood Center, Inc., and Gabriela B. Gerhart. The complaint alleges Defendants printed, published, and distributed Plaintiff’s photographs in marketing materials to promote The Motherhood Center without Plaintiff’s consent or authorization. The complaint further alleges Defendants continued to infringe on Plaintiff’s copyrights subsequent to Defendants’ receipt of a letter notifying them of their infringing acts.

Plaintiff requests injunctive relief, seizure of the infringing materials, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

The record labels are busy with copyright infringement claims for unauthorized downloading and distribution of music in the Southern District of Texas. Warner Bros. Records, Inc. v. Latham (4:2007cv04525) Warner Bros. Records, Inc. v. Grover (4:2007cv04528) Maverick Recording Company v. Blackburn (4:2007cv04528)

Western District Versata Software, Inc. v. General Electric Medical Systems, Inc. (1:2007cv02023) Versata Software, Inc. filed suit on December 14, 2007 against General Electric Medical Systems, Inc., General Electric Company, GE Healthcare, Inc., and GE Medical Systems Information Technologies, Inc. alleging breach of contract, copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with a contractual relationship, and unjust enrichment

Plaintiff, a company engaged in the research, development, and sale of computer software, entered into a contract with Defendant General Electric Medical Systems in 1996 granting Defendant a nonexclusive and nontransferable limited license to use certain software developed and owned by Plaintiff. The parties also entered into a Professional Services Agreement, under which Plaintiff provided Defendant with ongoing professional consulting services.

In 2001 Defendant cancelled Plaintiff’s services agreement, leading Plaintiff to believe Defendant had also abandoned use of Plaintiff’s software products. Plaintiff learned in 2005 that Defendant continued to use, reproduce and distribute unauthorized copies of the software. After negotiations failed, Plaintiff filed this action for. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, an order requiring destruction of all unauthorized copies of Plaintiff’s software, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Broadcast Music, Inc. v. Vicci, Inc. (1:2007cv00981) Suit alleging unauthorized public performance of musical copyrights.

BMG v DOE, DOE AND MORE DOES BMG filed four suits in the Western District of Texas against John Doe plaintiffs alleging Plaintiff downloaded and distributed Plaintiffs’ copyrighted music files over the internet in violation of Plaintiff’s exclusive rights. BMG Music et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01054) BMG Music et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01047) Sony BMG Music Entertainment et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01063) Interscope Records et al v. Doe (1:2007cv01057)