Our favorite dialogue from the Broadway musical Beautiful went something like this: toward the end of the play, before the closing scene where Carole King performs at Carnegie Hall, Barry Mann says to her, "Carole, play one of our songs." His wife and songwriting partner, Cynthia Weil, calls him on his comment. His response -- "Royalties" -- elicits the following from Weil: "Carole, play all our songs."

We saw Beautiful, based on Carole King's early life, in August. We'd taken the train to New York to attend a writers’ conference sponsored by Writer's Digest. The same morning that we saw the play, we had the opportunity to meet with our literary agent, Marilyn Allen. We were all celebrating the news that sales of The Big Book of HR had reached the point where our advance was covered and we would all start receiving income from the book. For us, that meant we could each expect a royalty check, albeit a modest one, in the near future. And as Marilyn reminded us, "every copy that sells now will earn royalties."

For authors and composers, a royalty is a sum of money paid to the original creator of a product, book, or piece of music based on how many copies have been sold or for each public performance of a work. Wow, we've something in common with Carole King, albeit on a much smaller scale. As our colleague Sharon Armstrong would say, "Fabulous!"

While we can dream about selling millions of copies of our book, we have no expectations of depending on its royalties to support ourselves. But there are many artists, composers, and authors whose livelihoods do depend on royalties. They bring their talent and intellectual capital to the marketplace and have every right to expect to be compensated for it. Through copyrights, they have the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time.

Five exclusive rights are granted to copyright holders under the Copyright Act of 1976:

· the right to reproduce (copy) the work into copies and to exclude others from doing so
· the right to create derivative works of the original work and to exclude others from preparing such derivative works or creations
· the right to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale, lease, or rental, and to exclude others from such distribution
· the right to perform the work publicly (if the work is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pantomime, motion picture, or other audiovisual work), and to exclude others from doing so without paying royalties
· the right to display the work publicly (if the work is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pantomime, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, motion picture, or other audiovisual work), and to exclude others from doing so

It’s important to respect the intellectual capital of others and honor the creator’s right to receive compensation for his or her original work. Don’t infringe on their rights and don’t expect something for nothing.

To thank all our readers who’ve supported (and purchased) The Big Book of HR, we’ve got one short message, “You’re Beautiful!”

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.