RE: Supremes rule for freelancers

Subject: RE: Supremes rule for freelancers
From: "MMdeaton" <mmdeaton -at- mmdeaton -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 10:44:49 -0700

Please understand that the case brought before the court involved
freelancers who had written for a print publication and then that print
publication put the same article on the Web without any additional payment.
It did not, to my knowledge, cover writers who had written something for Web
publication only or first. The publication bought first rights for print and
then assumed rights for Web or other electronic publication. It is not about
people linking to articles on the Web, downloading them to save, or
otherwise accessing the articles. Of course, it could become like that.

After all, we are all aware that if we want to copy an entire magazine
article from a print publication for other than "fair use" as defined by
copyright law that we need to have the publishers permission and, perhaps,
have to pay for making the copies. Do you have a problem with that? Do you
routinely make copies that are beyond the fair use standards without getting
permission? If you do, then you are likely to find it onerous to be expected
to observe fair use standards on Web publications.

I guess I find it hard to understand why people who make their living
creating intellectual property do not want to protect that intellectual
property from unfair use, or who are happy to let it be given away for free.
I expect my clients to pay me for what I write. I do not give it to them for
free. I also do not usually sign a contract that let's them do whatever they
feel like with it for ever and ever. Unless I am doing "work for hire," I
retain rights to the things I write unless I grant the use of those rights
(and appropriate payment is received) to someone else. I also limit what
rights I grant to people.

I wrote a book. The copyright to the book belonged to the publisher until
the publisher decided to quit printing the book. Then the rights reverted to
me. I also got paid if the book got translated into another language,
because the rights I granted were limited to the English version.

Napster was shut down because it ignored artist's rights, copyright laws,
and ethics. You do not have a right to what I create. I am the only person
who has a right to what I create. And I have the right to determine how my
creations are distributed. Just because the Web makes it easy to violate
intellectual property rights does not mean you ought to do it.

Mary Deaton
Deaton Information Design
Web Shui at
News and opinion at:


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RE: Supremes rule for freelancers: From: Kathy E. Gill

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