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I'm trying to right an article in ASCII format to be published in a Linux magazine and I know this may sound stupid but how do you go about protecting ...
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  1. #1
    Banned Richard_The_Lionhearted's Avatar
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    Ownership of written articles


    I'm trying to right an article in ASCII format to be published in a Linux magazine and I know this may sound stupid but how do you go about protecting the credit of the author? What I'm trying to say is, that if you submit an article how can you protect yourself if they give the credit to someone else?

  2. #2
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    There are several licences that will allow use of the article but will prevent anyone taking credit. Much like the GPL allows modification and redistribution while ensuring the original author retains credit. Regardless of which licence you use, it should be enough to impress the fact that using the article requires them to conform to the terms of the agreement - thus protecting your rights. However if the terms of the licence were broken you do really have to worry about actually take the offending party to court...Perhaps the Creative Commons licence may be what you're looking for?

  3. #3
    Linux User PsypherPunk's Avatar
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    T'be honest without actual legal backing i'm none too sure exactly how much sway an 'i wrote this first' claim would have.

    i was often told that merely taking a copy of an article you've written and posting it to yourself would guarantee a copyright (on this island at least). However, i later hear that without definite legal involvement a copyright claim on any article is fairly dubious.

    i don't think that publishing anything under any license would necessarily work unless you can prove that you developed the idea first.

    Unfortunately my legal knowledge comes from working as a Junior Account Clerk in the basement of a Solicitors many years ago. Any persons of a legal persuasion have an answer on this one?
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  6. #5
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    Copyright

    Its not generally a problem since most magazines cannot afford to violate
    copyright laws. However if you are worried about it put a copyright notice
    at the end of the article and at the beginning if you like. It should simple say
    something like 'Copyright Fred Smith 2005'. If you want to, post a copy of the
    article to yourself in a sealed evelope and keep it sealed.
    However if you have any sort of contract with the magazine then it might
    specify that you have to sell the copyright to them. If it doesn't then it can
    be assumed that they are entitled to publish it but you still own the copyright.
    If someone violates your copyright then your only option is to take them to
    court and try to get damages. If this is a reputable magazine then you are
    unlikely to have a problem.

  7. #6
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    The last time i checked in the UK and USA, any original written text/creative work has an implict copyright upon it. If someone reproduced the article in whole without your permission, then they have broken the law. (small snippits may be quoted (without attribution, i think) as permitted under "fair use" (google for more info)).

    If you are writing the article as a paid author, typically the magazine will ask you to sign a contract stating what they can and can't do with it. Now, this is where some people can be caught out - if you are writing the article as a paid author, they can say that you transfer the rights of your work to them, so they can reprint it, and do what they like with it, and you have no further say in the matter. (under US law, that is called "work for hire", not sure what it's called in the UK).

    Anyway, back to your question.. basically, the best thing to do is get a written contract you are happy with. If that is not possible, then unless you have agreed to transfer rights to them, the rights of the work remain with you. If you don't have a contract it might be a good idea that when you submit your work state your terms of what they may do with it, eg, "I grant xyz magazine permission to include/print this article in X edition of xyz magazine on the condition that full credit to the author is given. Full copyright remains with the author"... or a statement to that effect.

    (note: obviously i'm not a lawyer, the above should be considered 'opinion only' and not professional legal advice).

  8. #7
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonlambert
    If you are writing the article as a paid author, typically the magazine will ask you to sign a contract stating what they can and can't do with it. Now, this is where some people can be caught out - if you are writing the article as a paid author, they can say that you transfer the rights of your work to them, so they can reprint it, and do what they like with it, and you have no further say in the matter. (under US law, that is called "work for hire", not sure what it's called in the UK).
    I'm also not a lawyer, but I did some illustrating for a newspaper in college. The agreement I signed was that they held the right of "first print", but that the copyright reverted back to me after 90 days. As J said, it should be all described in the contract.
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