Thursday, November 19, 2009

Will Wayne Dyer Love You If You Infringe?

Dear Rich: I wrote a study guide for my church for The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer. It was given to people for free. In the study guide we quoted brief sections from Dyer's book, giving him credit, and then I wrote questions about each chapter. I want to start a little business developing study guides of existing books for churches to use. Is it fair use? The short answer is that we don't know. Issues of fair use can only really be decided by a judge who weighs several factors and does some hocus-pocus. Many literary guides survive without any hassle but there are also a few copyright cases in which copyright owners have halted "guide" books (Take a look at the Seinfeld and Twin Peaks cases here.) 
What would Wayne do? Even if you infringe, we'd like to believe that Wayne Dyer has enough love in his heart to forgive you for any copyright transgressions. Like Wayne says, "Anything you really want, you can attain, if you really go after it." So if you really want to borrow from his books and sell study guides, you should really go after it. Actually, we're not sure about that last part, we just got caught up reading lots of Wayne Dyer quotes.
Why you can probably get away with it ... The Dear Rich Staff, victims of lifelong self-defeating thinking, think that you can probably get away with selling your guides without any problem. To keep things on the safe side, don't sign a publishing deal, avoid extensive use of quotes, avoid any indicators that might imply that Wayne endorses your book -- don't put his picture on the cover (or pictures of his book covers), and it wouldn't hurt to include a prominent disclaimer on the cover to the effect that "Wayne Dyer does not endorse and is not associated with this publication." Don't let copyright get in the way of sharing your ideas -- Go for it now, because like Wayne says, the future is promised to no one.