Re: OEM Documentation: Who retains the copyright?

Subject: Re: OEM Documentation: Who retains the copyright?
From: Susan W. Gallagher <sgallagher5 -at- cox -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 18:08:47 -0400

When I was in that situation (for software) we shared the
copyright. The notice said, "Copyright 19xx Distributor, Inc.
Portions copyright 19xx Supplier Co. All rights reserved."
We never really argued about who owned what, but I believe
the contract specified that their name appear somewhere in
the notices.

If you look at the reality of the situation, the originator
of the document does not (usually) relinquish copyright --
just grants the distributing company the right to use it,
customize it, and distribute it. The distributing company
owns anything they've added to the docs, but not the original
text. If the originator had two distributors and had to
relinquish copyright to one, what would the other distributor
do about docs?

But, before you make any hard and fast decisions, ask whether
anything about docs was written into the contract. Chances
are, there isn't anything. People who negotiate contracts
don't usually give product docs a thought, but it never hurts
to check.

-Sue Gallagher

> From: sdespres -at- connected -dot- com
> Greetings all, hoping you can help settle a mild dispute. I've searched on
> the 'Net and the TECHWR-L archives and was unable to find an answer.
> When branding OEM documentation, who retains the copyright of the finished
> work? the OEM, or the company for whom it is branded?
> It is my understanding that if a company puts its name on an OEM product,
> the accompanying documentation (with that company's name, product name,
> etc.) would be the copyright of that company. After all, it's the
> copyright that gives the company the right to distribute, republish, etc.
> etc. The OEM does not retain the copyright of the finished, branded
> documentation.
> Thanks in advance for your responses.
> S. Despres


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