Copyright and Licensing Articles

There are many players claiming to be ‘social media experts’ who offer to provide you with articles and content. But you must be vigilant to ensure that you ‘get what you pay for’, and that you are clear about any intellectual property rights associated with the articles and content.

In one example, our client invited submissions to syndicate articles on their blog site and newsletter, and a business colleague who answered provided a sample article for  publication. On further enquiry, we found that the article had been published and reproduced across multiple websites several different times and each of those websites  belonged to a different competitor. When asked that business colleague indicated he had ‘paid someone to write the articles’ for him. We asked him about the nature of the engagement and the corresponding license for copyright and reproduction. There was no further response and so we advised our client to not publish the article.

It is not possible to justify or even assess the risks associated with reproducing or publishing an article or other web content without clearly understanding the intellectual property rights, copyright, licensing and reproduction permissions associated with that article or web content.

When engaging someone to write articles for you, we recommend clarifying who owns the article’s copyright, and what are the permissions regarding publication and reproduction.