Plagiarism & Copyrights

5 Common Ways Freelance Writers Get Scammed

Cookie Thief

Ever since I started writing at Plagiarism Today and especially since I started this column, I’ve been hearing a lot from freelance writers who have been scammed or otherwise victimized by unscrupulous clients. Though the good news is that such bad clients are very rare in the big scheme of things, they are common enough that almost every freelancer, if they remain active long enough, will run into one or two over the course of their career. So how do you avoid being taken advantage of as a freelance writer. As we discussed previously, clients have the playing field tilted [Read more…]

Why You Want to Keep Your Copyright

Why You Want to Keep Your Copyright

By now, we all know that, when signing freelance writing contracts, you need to be copyright smart and make sure that you aren’t giving away more rights to your work than you intended. But many don’t understand what the big deal about signing over copyright to their work is. Most freelance writers don’t resell the same work to several clients, and act that is considered to be very bad form when it is done without prior knowledge, and often times freelance writers never have any intention to ever return to the topic again. In short, for many freelance writers, once [Read more…]

5 Legal Questions to Ask Before Turning in An Assignment

5 Legal Questions to Ask Before Turning in An Assignment

Turning in an assignment is the goal of pretty much every freelancer. It’s the moment where they can send their invoice, collect payment and, generally make a living. If you don’t reach this point regularly, you’ll likely soon find yourself looking for another career. That being said, the moment you turn in your assignment is also something of a point of no return. Once you send the email, share the Google Doc or otherwise turn in what you have completed, you’ve not only submitted that work for revenue, you’ve also distributed it to a third party, an important step legally [Read more…]

Whose Responsibility is Copyright Enforcement?

Relax

If you work as a freelance writer long enough, it’s bound to happen: Something you’ve written will be infringed. Whether it’s marketing copy being lifted by a competitor, a blog post pilfered by a scraper or something else altogether, the work you were paid for will be used by someone else unlawfully. But putting a stop to it can actually be very difficult. There are three parties involved, the infringer, the client and yourself. The dynamics between the three of them are, at times, complicated. So who has the responsibility and/or the ability to enforce copyright in freelance-created works? The [Read more…]

How to Get Your Contracts Signed

How to Get Your Contracts Signed

We’ve talked at great length about why you should always have a contract for your various jobs and some of the terms you need to know when looking at a contract, but there remains an odd challenge when dealing with contracts, getting them signed. The reason is that the process of signing a contract was not really designed for the digital age. Traditionally, signing a contract would involve two or more people sitting around a single sheet of paper, agreeing to the terms on it and signing their names. While that works great when the people involved are relatively close [Read more…]

3 Grim Legal Realities Freelancers Need to Accept

Barbed Wire Image

In an ideal universe, the law is there to protect both parties in a contract equally. The freelancer and the client would both have guards to prevent the other from doing something unscrupulous or somehow taking advantage of the other. Of course, in an ideal universe, justice would be free, it would be immediate and it would never make any mistakes. Unfortunately though, we don’t live in a perfect world and, in many regards, that legal playing field is very much tilted against the freelancer. Not only do clients, typically, have more money but the global nature of the Web [Read more…]

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