1. JustSayin

    JustSayin New Member

    Aug 24, 2010
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    Question About Copyright

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by JustSayin, Aug 24, 2010.

    Hi all,

    I work for a small town paper (two of them actually, owned by the same person). I love my work, but the money is awful ($9/hr for 30 hours per week) and the papers are going under, mostly do to poor management (as you will see below).

    I started as an independent contractor and they put me on staff after a couple months. I have never signed any kind of contract. The only employment documents I have signed were an I-9 and later a W-2. I have had dozens of articles printed and I'm curious, who owns the copyright for my articles? I assume that I do, certainly the ones written before I went on salary anyway.

    I'm curious if I can legally submit an article to my employer and then also submit the same article to a zine. Of course, I know I could get fired, but I am curious if it would be illegal to do that, since no contract was ever signed. And would the stuff that I wrote as an independent be in a different category from the stuff I wrote as an employee? There is a local event that I will be attending as an employee, but I could write an article about that event, not submit it to my employer and send it instead to the zine.

    I'm not trying to be sneaky but, like many people, creditors are calling and I've got to get more money coming in. I also really need to know who owns my stuff.

  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Unless you have signed away your rights in a contract, you hold copyright. However, you should check with a literary attorney, especially with regard to whether the paper has purchased exclusive publishing rights to the accepted columns, and if so, for how long.
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    ditto that!

    it's an iffy thing and you don't want to tarnish your rep beyond repair by doing what you shouldn't... so don't ask here, ask an attorney!

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