Freelancers: Get to know your copy rights

In Freelance, Publishing, smartnews on March 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm

As mainstream media organizations dwindle and send their editorial staffs packing, I believe we’ll see a rise in freelance editorial production. In other words, those jobs are being outsourced and offshored. That’s why we’re cranking up Smartnews, after all; may as well accept the fact and make the best of the situation.

Freelancers typically are less sophisticated than publishers when it comes to copyright; after all, who can spend more money on lawyers, you or the New York Times? And generally, they’ve not fared well in the wars over who has the right to the content.

The Supreme Court has agreed to review a case that may bring freelance copyright back into play. Here’s a column by freelancer and freelance-rights advocate Irvin Munchick that lays out the argument from his perspective.

One cool thing about Smartnews: We have no interest in rights to your content. Our model is based on producers retaining rights to their work, in most cases. However, you do need to be smart about what kind of agreement you enter into with publishers in general, and you need to make sure you haven’t previously signed over rights to content when you post it on Smartnews. We’re not in the business of breaking copyright: yours OR a publisher’s.


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