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Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog) RSS feed

Who owns an interview? Who controls the right to use it?

by Pat McNees
Who owns (or is assumed to own) the copyright in an interview seems to vary among professions (say, journalists and oral historians) and sometimes those doing the interviewing seem to be taking too much advantage of the people they are interviewing.  Read More 

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Bad Behavior: Rights bandits on the Wild Web

In this space (updated occasionally) I'm posting links to stories about egregious violations of creators' rights (rights of writers, photographers, artists, or other original creators of original works). On this week's Bad Behavior' Roundup:
BuzzFeed announces $19.3m  Read More 
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Publishers' core functions in an eBook world

Mike Shatzkin writes this week of changing models in book publishing, in which publishers will "offload everything except the functions that are absolutely core to publishing: editorial selection and development, rights management, and marketing." Authors, pay attention! He is writing about publishers, but  Read More 
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New iBook software's greedy grab for exclusive rights

Thanks to Robin Rowlands (The road to serfdom: Use Apple software ) for alerting us to the fact (widely discussed among techies) that deep within the license agreement for the excellent new iBook software is a clause stating that if you use the free software to create an ebook that you plan to sell (not give away) you are bound exclusively to Apple. Read Robin's  Read More 
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Agents as publishers--a new conflict of interest

In the UK, literary agent Ed Victor set up Bedford Square Books to publish e-book and print-on-demand versions of books that were out of print or for which rights had reverted to the author. Within days, this news (Ed Victor set up publishing imprint by Charlotte Williams, The Bookseller 5-10-11) became a trend and people in the industry began itemizing the ways in which a) it represents a major conflict of interest and b) publishing is changing radically. Read More 
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Readers: you can't actually buy an ebook

Authors, be sure to read From where I sit, you can’t actually “sell” an ebook, surely one of Mike Shatzkin's most important blogs (in an excellent series). His main point: Customers are not really buying those eBooks; they're licensing them. This has important implications for  Read More 
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Freelancers Suffer Unintended Consequences of Independent Contractor Law

The Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law was created to prevent worker exploitation, writes Andrea Shea for WBUR radio, and employers who "get busted classifying incorrectly — say, giving a worker a 1099 form at tax time rather than a W-2 — [will] face hefty fines." But writers and artists in Massachusetts are victims of  Read More 
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"How Can Creators Get a Fair Deal in the Digital World?"

Edward Hasbrouck's blog The Practical Nomad provides links to a trail of fascinating discussions about the role or rights of creators, readers, and publishers in the current huge many-faceted struggle going on about rights in the new digital environment. He writes that Readers' interests lie with writers, not with publishers Read More 
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Publishers and authors battle over digital (e-book) rights

Motoko Rich's NY Times story, Legal Battles Over E-Book Rights to Older Books (12-13-09), is about who owns rights to backlist titles covered by contracts written before digital rights emerged. The underlying issue: Publishers are not offering high enough royalties on e-books, which are cheaper to produce  Read More 
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Should a freelance writer sign a work-for-hire agreement?

The terms “work for hire” or “work made for hire” (WFH) should give writers pause. Much corporate work is done as WFH — which means the organization that pays you to do a project owns the material, period, and you have no rights beyond those to which you have mutually agreed in your contract. But not all corporate work is work for hire.  Read More 
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