Saturday, May 17, 2008

How To Protect Your On-Line Article Copyrights

Article marketing can be an effective "low cost" tool for presenting your literary and subject expertise. It can also result in varying degrees of copyright infringement and ownership issues. Rest assured, you become the legal copyright owner as soon as you create your article. As to whether you will retain that right and whether or not it will be honored, that is an entirely different situation.

Marketing inside your own publication "requires" merely a copyright notice on the site. Adherence to copyright law depends upon the integrity and understanding of other publishers. Submitting your article(s) for publication requires you to "give up" or transfer certain rights to the publisher. The legal holder of a copyright (or portion thereof) is not necessarily that of the originating author. Publishers will generally post their "requirements for inclusion" in a prominent location on their site. Readme files and fine print are often overlooked as standard blah-blah-blah. They are NOT! Those disclosure statements are legal documents intended for the preservation and protection of the rights and responsibilities of both the author and publisher.

OK, your intellectual work is an original, and as the author, you own the copyright in its entirety. Now you want a wider audience than you have available on your own. No longer then will all rights be reserved; some copyright provisions will have to be assigned to the publisher(s). First right to publication is yours by default; use up that right and it is not available for anyone else. That is correct, first right is consumable. You cannot publish your own work and then submit to a publisher demanding first right because it is no longer yours to offer. You have given it up to yourself. You have consumed the right. Be quite certain of the first right publisher's intended time frame for use of your article. Put your own time limit on this exclusive right if necessary. Unsavory characters could otherwise bury your intellectual work of genius forever. They might also delay it long enough to publish a similar copyrighted work of their own choosing, thus making you look like a plagiarist. Believe me - it happens.

Works of extremely high personal or professional value should be registered with the official copyright office in your country! You may also post copyright notice in the USA from most other countries. Furthermore, copyright protection laws, and the enforcement thereof, vary from country to country. Once you post to the internet you are vulnerable to literary pirates of all sorts around the globe. Be aware but, DO get published.

Reproduction, distribution, and re-distribution rights are what make article marketing work. This is what allows your intellectual property to be seen by a much wider audience than you might reach on your own. Your article may then provide much needed or desired content on another site. The restrictions/conditions for use must be clearly written and included as a part of the whole. It is a package deal - all or nothing. This helps to ensure proper citation for your work and places your own homepage URL within the body of the file. Protected and published (hopefully) as a whole unit. Everybody wins.

With proper citation, which includes a live link back to the source, part of your article might wind up on a blog post without your knowledge. There is an assumption of implied consent on your part to be "reported as news worthy". This could provide you with yet additional exposure. It might then bring further desirable, even controversial, traffic back to your site. The latter likely resulting in a threaded (you must have this feature installed/enabled)) commentary right on your homepage - returning visitors!

The right to resell, or not to resell a copyrighted work is a very specific legal right which is generally incorporated into the general copyright notice. For the purpose of Article Marketing the keyword is NOT; no one should be selling your work directly for a profit unless specifically authorized. There is also a giveaway provision which might be included but, this is usually for more complex works such as ebooks. Copyleft and derivative works are beyond the scope of this post; however, their definitions and intentions are readily available at Wikipedia.

All content © 2008 Keith E Larson

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