Q. There is a pre-existing work on the subject material I’d like to publish a book for. Is there a way to further the work done in that book, if I don’t have a Copyright release?

A. If you are working on new material to complement an original book, your  first step is to try contacting the author or her estate. You can work with them as to how much of the original content you may use in your new book. Even if you don’t wish to use any of their original content, establishing a relationship will help spread the word about your project.

If unable to obtain Copyright release, your new book should not be presented as an update. However, your new material can fully cross-reference previous works that you don’t own. For instance, you add more information on “Sally” and “Jerry”, who were children  in the original work. They both have families of their own now and Jerry has a new grandbaby. All this factual information can be included in your new book – just no “stories” as printed in the original book. You would then make a note that these two were listed on page XX in The book. Your new material can reference many previous works in this way.Visit our Copyright web page or the Library of Congress for more information on Copyright.

This section is drawn from