Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Do You Know Who Owns Your Words?

Writing for the web creates a lot of new questions about who owns all those words circulating out there on web sites, in ezines and in ebooks. What about the CD’s created from many of those words in all those digital forms all over the web? Instead of books or articles or columns, it’s all being re-named “Content”.

In a 2nd Circuit Court decision last year, six freelance writers won a case against the New York Times, Newsday and Time for copyright infringement. Their work was re-sold as digital content on a CDROM and later published on the web.

Their claim that they did NOT re-license their work for use on the web or in digital compilations and were entitled to compensation when that content was re-sold was accepted by the court in a judgment against the original publishers of that content.

That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in June of 2001 by a 7-2 vote. But what about articles offered free by by writers online?

Many writers online offer their articles “Free” for use on the web, in ezines or in ebooks available online. But in fact are being paid by the publishers by requiring that “resource boxes” be used, such as the four line blurb following this article. This is, in fact, a form of payment and is agreed to by those writers in exchange for the traffic, publicity, subscriptions and exposure gained when readers visit the authors web site, subscribe to their ezine or see advertisements run for a fee on their web site.

“Content” is proliferating, professional “paid” writers work is becoming less valuable online and some professionals are shouting, “ENOUGH! We want to be paid for our work!” An article this week at “Ezine-Tips.com” discusses how to raise the ire of any professional writer by asking them to write for free. ezine-tips.com

In an earlier article by the same author, (Janet Roberts, associate editor of “List-Universe.com”) many articles by online writers are labeled “advertising in disguise”.

I’ll buy that definition in many cases. I’ll buy it in this case. I’m advertising my weekly newsletter and my web site by offering opinion and insight on the web. And it works! I’ve written openly and widely that content I provide is just like an ad for my web site and my business. workz.com

Advertisers pay to have their ads appear in my newsletter and on my web site. You might say that my “advertising in disguise” attracts advertising to support my advertising if you want to see that advertising as inherently wrong.

But I’ll also ask then why is it that my articles are well read and syndicated across many networks of web sites and ezines. Those web sites and ezines WANT that content and believe it benefits their visitors and subscribers.

I run a business content distribution service called “Free-Content” at: yahoogroups.com

Over 500 well-respected writers and publishers subscribe to that list and publish articles distributed there. I’m about to expand that service into additional topics and expect all to be just as successful as the business content list.

It’s not advertising, it’s content, it’s free and I am a professional. What does that all mean? I leave it to you to decide.

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers http://seoptimism.com/SEO_Staff_Training.htm
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at
http://WebSite101.com and blogs about SEO at http://RealitySEO.com
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.

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