What are my legal rights if a local tour company has advertised a day trip based solely on a copyrighted book that I have written about my city?

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What are my legal rights if a local tour company has advertised a day trip based solely on a copyrighted book that I have written about my city?

The tour will visit places related to events described in my book. I own the book copyright. In the description of the day trip, my book and my name are mentioned, but I was never contacted regarding the tour or the use of my name and book in the tour description. The tour company is charging $99 per person for the tour. Should the company have requested my permission to use my research for their tour, as well as my consent to mention my the name of my book and my name in their advertisement for the tour?

Asked on January 14, 2016 under Business Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Copyright doesn't provide as much protection as you think it does. It prevents them from using your actual copyrighted sentences, descriptions, writing, etc.--but it doesn't protect your name, the name of your book, or the "researach" (i.e. the basic information) behind the book. To use an example: I am now reading "The Finest Hour" by Tougias and Sherman, the story of a famous Coast Guard rescue (and the basis for the pending movie). I could create and advertise a tour to see the Coast Guard boat and station involved in the rescue (even though I only learned about it through the book) and could market it as "see the facilities and vessels involved in the rescue from 'The Finest Hour' by Tougias and Sherman'" and that would be legal. What I could not do would be to reproduce any paragraphs from the book for my marketing materials--that would violate copyright, since copyright protects a given creative work, not the underlying names, events, and facts.


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