said 1 year, 1 month ago:
I’m not an attorney, but I understand communications law well enough to say you should NOT listen to anyone but an attorney regarding rights issues.
Unless you pay to acquire rights to a written work, assume you do NOT own the work itself. Even if you paid money to a writer, assume you only bought a license to use it in a particular way at a particular time and only on a particular site or in a particular format. Most buyers do NOT buy ALL rights, only certain ones, so you really must research what these rights are before making general statements that “generally” do not apply to all situations.
Before the internet, writers were accustomed to including the type of rights they were offering for sale to a publisher in the top right-hand corner of their manuscript — e.g., First American serial rights, reprint rights, etc. I’m not seeing that in consistent practice anymore, but I would think most professional writers would want to know the laws that guard and protect their hard works. To leave these decisions up to buyers is just asking for trouble and visa versa.
Even when writing for online writing mills and brokers, rights to a writer’s work can be a ticky, tricky thing. And, too, there’s plenty of room in the courts to go back and reclaim rights to written works if the buyer or seller did NOT have a clear agreement, especially in work for hire vs. independent contractor situations.
If you ever find yourself in a situation as a buyer who thinks they own the copyright of a written work just because you paid money for it or just because the author sent it to you, just assume you don’t own it and talk to a lawyer about how to actually buy or acquire the rights you’re seeking. All the online forum advice in the world will NOT help you in a court of law.
For example, many bloggers think it’s OK to just copy other bloggers’ privacy notices, disclaimers, copyright notices, FTC notices, and even guest blog policy notices. It’s not. You need to ask permission from the blogger for the right to copy and use their “policy” and get that specific permission in writing. Kristi has a great guest blogger policy, but I wouldn’t copy it word for word even if she gave permission without first talking with an attorney. What may look great may not cover you legally if something weird happens with a guest blogger. And Kristi’s attorney is NOT working for you.
Just a few thoughts from a former legal junkie who’s been there and done that and can tell you that crossing your i’s and dotting your t’s when a lawyer would tell you it should have been visa versa will simply make you go blind at a tender early age, lol.