Posted by Mr. Q at 6:00 AM Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Is it a violation of law? Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner. So, technically you are infringing by forwarding chapters without permission. We doubt this will turn into an issue for you, however, because it seems unlikely that the copyright owner will learn of your use. And if the owner does learn of your use, the case for infringement is not especially strong because you limited distribution (and damages) and may even be able to qualify the copy as a fair use. You can further limit liability by requesting that the potential client not reproduce the samples and maintain their confidentiality. (That indicates your good faith in limiting reproduction.) That's not as powerful as having the potential client sign a confidentiality agreement (which we doubt you want to do). However, if the potential client asks you to sign a confidentiality agreement, by all means, seek to make it mutual, so that the submissions will be confidential. And in the future, if you use editing agreements, you might want to include a provision that grants you a non exclusive license to reproduce segments of the editing work in your "portfolio" to be shown only to potential clients.