Three Ways to Fight Plagiarism Easily

plagiarism

Having worked online for almost a decade, I do believe that there is such a thing as accidentally plagiarizing. After all, how many times and/or ways can a subject be written about? At some point, an online writer might find himself writing the same words and ideas that he has read somewhere else – without the intention of copying. But, the road to hell is paved with adverbs good intentions, right? Source Then there’s the other side of the coin – other people copying your content. You may think that it won’t happen to you, but believe me, there are so many unscrupulous [Read more…]

How to Protect Your Freelance Writing Work

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Freelance writers run the risk of having their content used without permission or compensation. While it can be risky working as a freelance writer, if you’re aware of the possible pitfalls, you have much better chance of preventing plagiarism of your writing. Take a look at these suggestions for protecting your work: Trust Your Gut If you are contacted by a new client and they ask you to submit content without a contract, it’s a good idea to tread lightly. Sometimes freelance writers have to take risks to get work, but giving your work away for free shouldn’t be one [Read more…]

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…]

5 Legal Questions to Ask Before Turning in An Assignment

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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…]

3 Grim Legal Realities Freelancers Need to Accept

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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…]

Why Having a Pen Name Can Be a Risky Move

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Having a pen name is one of the oldest traditions of being a writer. Even Homer, the famed author of the Illiad, is more of a mythical figure than a real person. Writer’s select pen names for a variety of reasons. Some feel their “real” lives might be harmed if it is known what they write, others just think a new name sounds better and still others want to try two different writing styles or subjects without interference from past works. In fact, even publishers can demand an author use a pen name, as was the case with J.K. Rowling. [Read more…]

How to Avoid Legal Trouble With Your Portfolio

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Every freelance writer should have a good online portfolio, a place to showcase their best works and examples of the kinds of writing that they do. However, creating a portfolio is not as simple as choosing the best writing that you’ve done for your clients and putting up copies or even snippets on your site. Not only might this be considered bad form on the part of your clients, but there may be legal issues that prevent you being able to do so. So as many of us begin to look toward the new year and seek out ways to [Read more…]

5 Lessons From the Cooks Source Case for Freelancers

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If you’re a freelance writers, there’s a very good chance that you’ve been following the Cooks Source case for the last week or two. To recap what happened, Monica Gaudio, a freelance writer, discovered that an article she had written on the history of apple pies had been used in its entirety by a small New England magazine entitled Cooks Source. Though the use was attributed, making it a copyright infringement and not a plagiarism, she was understandably upset and sought an apology and a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism. The editor of Cooks Source, Judith Griggs, [Read more…]

5 Simple Legal Mistakes Freelancers Commonly Make

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For a freelance writer, there is a lot of legal ground to cover. Copyright, trademark, privacy, libel and contract law are just some of the areas any freelancer needs to be familiar with to ensure that their rights are protected and they stay on the right side of the law. The reason is that, in addition to signing deals and getting payment for a service, you are creating content that will be distributed to a global audience. This puts a lot of responsibility on you and everything you right to be accurate, non-infringing and non-invasive. Still, we are all human [Read more…]

Derivative Works: Creations That Look Familiar

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One of the most common questions I get asked about copyright law is “How much do I need to change in (insert creation name) in order to use it without infringing copyright?” Whether they are asking because someone reused their work or they are thinking about doing it to someone else, these people are usually asking the wrong question. Likely misled by rumors of a 10 percent rule or something similar, many think there’s some magic number that lets themselves or others skirt copyright law by creating a new work from an old with minimal work. Unfortunately, these people often [Read more…]

Is Your Work Really a Work for Hire?

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Many freelance writers don’t fully understand copyright law and mistakenly believe that the fact they are paid for a work means that they don’t hold the copyright in it. In short, since they were hired to do a particular job, that the work becomes a work for hire and they also transfer copyright in the work to the buyer. However, that is very rarely the case. Though the language is very confusing, simply being paid to create a work does not make it a work for hire under the law. Rather, the law actually only caused a work to be [Read more…]

The 7 Most Important Facts About Copyright You Need to Know

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As a freelance writer, copyright is your business. Your works are protected by copyright and it is that protection that enables you to sell your work, prevent unauthorized use and generally control how your creations are used. However, many freelance writers, much like the rest of the Web, either doesn’t understand copyright law or has serious misconceptions about it. But given how important it is to our profession, it makes sense to sit down and work to really understand what copyright law is about, at least some of the key points, and try to make sense of an admittedly confusing [Read more…]

7 Reasons Why You Should Always Have a Written Contract

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One of the thorniest and most uncomfortable issues freelancers routinely face is the issue of contracts when it comes to getting jobs. Part of it is because, as freelancers, we often take jobs with people know, trust and are good friends with. Other times it is because clients have urgent needs and there may not be enough time to hammer out a formal contract before the deadline passes. However, this is almost always a bad idea. Taking jobs or receiving work without a contract is a grave disservice to both sides. While contracts may slow things down and cause brief [Read more…]

A Primer on Fair Use for Freelance Writers

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Looking at the questions I received from last week’s call for suggestions, there were several people who asked me about fair use and had some very good, pointed questions on the topic. However, fair use is not exactly a simple topic to delve into. It is a legal topic that is routinely debated by the brightest legal minds and, quite literally, has had countless tomes written entirely about it. Trying to answer specific questions about it is virtually impossible in the space of a single column. As such, I”ve decided to make my first in this series a primer on [Read more…]

My Name is Jonathan Bailey, Let’s Talk Law

Hello. My name is Jonathan Bailey. As Susan warned earlier this week, I am the new guy here and I wanted to take a moment to both introduce myself and my new column here. I also want to invite you to send me your ideas and questions to help get this column rolling. So, without any further ado, here’s a little bit of information about me, what my column here is about and how you can help pick the topics that get discussed. About Me As a blogger I am best known for my site Plagiarism Today where I blog [Read more…]

Jonathan Bailey of PlagiarismToday.com Joins the Freelance Writing Jobs Team

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I’m very happy to announce that Jonathan Bailey of PlagiarismToday is joining the Freelance Writing Jobs team!  He will write about plagiarism, copyrights, content theft and related topics that affect writers on a daily basis.  I know he’ll be able to provide a great deal of insight to help writers protect their work and thrive in the ever-changing world of publishing. For those of you who haven’t already found Jonathan’s awesome PlagiarismToday blog or seen his posts on Splashpress Media’s BloggingPro blog, here’s an introduction: About Jonathan Bailey Jonathan Bailey has been building Web sites for 15 years and has [Read more…]

A Freelance Writing Jobs Reminder: You Own Your Samples

One of the regulars sent me this email today. I came across a problem this morning.  You may want to post a warning especially for new writers.  The ad you have for pet writers is of concern.  An automated response is returned with details which seem innocuous enough: but after the signature is the following: P.S. please do not copy and paste from internet. We will be checking all samples with copyscape. We will own the copyright of your sample articles even if you don’t get hired. They claim the copyright of any sample whether hired or not!  I can forward [Read more…]

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