What Do You Think of My Draft Copyright Notice?

My book The Structure of M&A Contracts will be published in two or three weeks. I’m currently torturing West with comments on the page proofs.

The final bit of text that I have to prepare is the copyright notice. Here’s what it would look like if I were to base it on West’s standard copyright notice:

Copyright © 2010 Kenneth A. Adams, All rights reserved.

Copyright law prohibits the reproduction or transmission in any form or by any means, whether mechanical, photographic or electronic, of any portion of this publication without the express permission of Kenneth A. Adams.

Kenneth A. Adams hereby consents to the copying of the Table of Contents ONLY of this publication for internal or personal use provided (1) copies of the Table of Contents are distributed at no cost, and (2) proper notice of copyright is affixed to each copy. This consent does not extend to any other kind of copying, such as copying any portion of this publication other than the Table of Contents for internal purposes, or for creating new collective works for resale.

All requests for permission to make copies of all or any part of this publication, other than the Table of Contents, should be addressed to:

But I can’t resist tinkering with prose. And given that The Structure of M&A Contracts will be available only as a PDF file, I thought it might be appropriate to have the copyright notice reflect the greater risk of illicit copying. So here’s what I came up with:

Copyright © 2010 Kenneth A. Adams

Copyright law prohibits you from reproducing or transmitting, whether by mechanical, photographic, or electronic means, any portion of this publication without the permission of Kenneth A. Adams.

Because this publication is available only as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file, it would be a simple matter for any purchaser to disseminate copies widely. But just as distributing photocopies of a book would violate copyright, it would be against the law for anyone who purchases this publication to forward it to anyone else without the copyright holder’s permission. And pilfering content makes it harder for authors and publishers to develop and distribute original works. This publication is readily available at a modest price—there’s no justification for illicit copying.

Kenneth A. Adams hereby consents to your copying and distributing free of charge this publication’s table of contents.

Direct any requests for permission to copy all or part of this publication (other than the table of contents) to Kenneth A. Adams. His contact information is as follows:

Would my version serve any purpose, or would I just sound like a scold?

By the way, I enjoyed omitting “All rights reserved” from my version. I always thought it sounded pointless; apparently I was right.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.