Word’s Worth

These words are free.

That is, it costs you nothing to read them, and unfortunately, I don’t get paid to write them.

But these words are not completely free. They are intellectual property.

I own these words. I choose where they appear, if at all, and no one else has the right to publish them without my consent.

And if I do give my consent, they’re still my words. You only get the right to publish, in a specific medium, for a specific market.

Copyright is simple. What I write, I own, and if you copy it, then you have plagarised my work.

A few months ago, I worked on a simple leaflet designed to explain the basics of copyright to freelance journalists and editors.

We pretty much took it for granted everyone knew what copyright was. The issue was negotiating skills, emphasising that writers sell rights, but still own copyright.

Every now and then, someone uses my words without permission. When they do, I send out an invoice. If they pay don’t up, lawyers get involved. So far, they’ve paid. It’s cheaper.

There’s a theory that blogs are different. They aren’t. Your words are still your property. Protect them.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.

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