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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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Revolution in academia: Copyright and open access

(updated 1-29-17, 3-5-16, 3-19-16)
In academia a wide-ranging discussion about open access is weakening academic journals' monopoly on profiting from publishing research findings. Different interest groups view this differently, of course. Meanwhile, as the publishing landscape changes, are academic authors, who have long abandoned claims to copyright on many of their scholarly articles (in the "public or perish" world of university faculty-making), less docile about publishing rights, with tenured faculty positions scarcer and scarcer? This round-up of relevant pieces starts with

Elsevier Mutiny: Cracks Are Widening in the Fortress of Academic Publishing (Mathew Ingram, Forbes, 11-2-15) "All six editors and the entire editorial board of the well-respected linguistics journal Lingua have resigned to protest the company’s failure to embrace open access.  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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How long does copyright last?

Someone asked, via the Association of Personal Historians listserv, if she could reprint a biography of her long-dead relative first published (probably self-published) in 1960. Among other things, the underlying question is, How long does copyright protection last? One person suggested "life plus fifty years," which used to be true but no longer is Read More 
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The Magic Article Rewriter (not a person)

My mouth is still open after reading The Best Spinner vs. the Magic Article Rewriter. What can you deduce from the following copy: "almost 100% of every content about anything has already been written or said at least once somewhere around the web. That  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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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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