Tag Archives | Copyright Questions

Copyright Questions: Guest Blogging

This is one of a series of questions submitted by attendees of the Copyright, Common Mistakes and Myths Webinar and answered by Laura N. Gasaway, author of Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers.

Laura N. GasawayQuestion: If a company has a blog page on its website, does the company own copyright of what is posted by guest bloggers, or does there need to be some sort of agreement between guest bloggers and the hosting site? In other words, the company owns the content on its site, but do guest blogs become the property of the company website, or does the guest blogger hold all rights to what they wrote (absent a formal agreement)?

Answer: The author of the individual blog post owns the copyright in his or her original posting. The only exception is if the blogger is a company employee and company policy is that it owns all of the rights to works produced by the employee in the course of his or her employment. Because you used the term “guest blogger” my assumption is that the blogger is not an employee of your company.

If your company wants to own the copyright in the blog content created by the guest blogger, then a written transfer of copyright from the blogger to the company is required. Many bloggers would not agree to this, but the company still may want to ask. If the blogger refuses, them the company will have the choice of letting the blogger go ahead and retain the copyright, or not permitting the blogger to write for the company blog.  

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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Copyright Questions: Facebook Photos

This is one of a series of questions submitted by attendees of the Copyright, Common Mistakes and Myths Webinar and answered by Laura N. Gasaway, author of Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers.

Laura N. GasawayQuestion: My photos have been published in a book and are already copyrighted by the publisher. I have been told that if I post these photos on Facebook, they (Facebook) will now own the copyright. Is this true or false?

Answer: First of all, no, posting photos to social media does not transfer copyright.  Whether or not you can legally post the photos depends on the transfer agreement you signed when you assigned the copyright to the publisher. If you reserved any rights, or did not specifically transfer the electronic rights, you would have the right to use the photographs that you “authored.” The publisher certainly is behaving as if you assigned the entire copyright to it, but that may not be the case. Publishers sometimes claim that they have rights they don’t actually own. You need to check that agreement, or have someone check it for you.  

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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Copyright Questions: Paraphrases and Quotes

This is one of a series of questions submitted by attendees of the Copyright, Common Mistakes and Myths Webinar and answered by Laura N. Gasaway, author of Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers.

Laura N. GasawayQuestion: How can you tell whether a paraphrased idea needs permission as opposed to simply including a footnote after the paraphrased idea that cites the original source?

Answer: Permission to paraphrase is not what is needed. It is permission to use if the portion used is the length of something for which you would need permission to reproduce. So, assume that the portion you want to use and paraphrase is several pages long and thus is pretty substantial. The paraphrase will be a bit shorter, but still relatively substantial (maybe half the length of the original). In all likelihood, you would need permission for the direct quote (reproduction), but it is a judgment call as to whether you would need to seek permission for the paraphrase. On the other hand, if it is a short quote or paraphrase, no permission would be needed. Of course, you also need to cite the author.  

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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Copyright Guide Table of Contents

Copyright law can be confusing…

The Pocket Copyright Guide for PublishersAuthored by Laura N. Gasaway, Paul B. Eaton Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers helps alleviate this problem.

Each chapter covers a specific topic including basics of copyright law; registration; assignments and transfers; granting and obtaining permission to reproduce copyrighted works; the use photographs, audiovisual works and other materials from websites; exceptions to copyright, such as fair use; licensing and collective rights societies; the digital environment; enforcement of copyright; international aspects of copyright; and industry trends.

  1. Copyright basics —  Requirements for obtaining a copyright, what is eligible for protection, authorship, works for hire, ownership, duration of copyright, exclusive rights of the copyright owner, the rights a publisher must have, what constitutes infringement, damages, etc.
  2. Registration of copyrights, assignments and transfers – Importance of copyright registration, how to register a work, obtaining assignments from the author or other copyright holder, transfers of copyright and recordation of transfers.  What happens to the copyright upon the death of the author, dealing with copyright heirs, and terminations of copyright after the statutory period for licenses expires.
  3. Permissions (seeking and granting) – How to seek permission to use copyrighted works in compilations and other works, the utility of establishing a system for granting permission for use of works for which the company holds copyright, and orphan works,
  4. Using photographs, music, audiovisual works and other nonprint materials from websites – Difficulties in determining the copyright status of these works, how to seek and document permissions, disclaimers, royalty free images, and decisions to use works without permission.
  5. Exceptions to copyright protection:  first sale, fair use, educational and library uses – Understanding fair use, first sale and other statutory exceptions to the Copyright Act, considering whether to grant greater rights to use works to certain institutions and individuals.
  6. Licensing and collective rights societies – Overview of major collective rights societies, determining whether to join a collective rights society, royalties, and Creative Commons licenses.
  7. The digital environment – Unique copyright problems the digital environment has created for publishers, necessary grant of rights, institutional repositories and open archives, and mass digitization cases.
  8. Enforcing copyrights – How publishers can enforce their rights without litigation, liability, criminal infringement, remedies and defenses, and license violations.
  9. International aspects – Protecting copyrights internationally, and whether to be concerned about such protection.
  10. Trends – What publishers may expect as predicted by recent litigation and Congressional action and discussions, and operation of law trends.

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