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Archiver > APG > 2002-06 > 1023374398

From: "Morris Simon" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] research rights
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 09:39:58 -0500
References: <002001c20d5e$b87111e0$93e6e6d8@net.pcom.net>

Cindy Amrhein wrote:

"If that happens I am guessing she would want to
publish the history in some way. So how do I word that stuff in the
contract? I am getting paid to do it so it would be hers, BUT is it ok to
include in the contract that any published works must mention myself as the
researcher of the work?"


I worked as a freelance writer and researcher for ten years. Each contract I signed with various publishers was quite specific regarding copyrights and "work for hire" arrangements. On some projects, I was simply a "hack" writer or researcher, forfeiting all rights to whatever I prepared; on others, I retained all or some rights to the material. And in some (more complicated) cases, the copyright would revert to me after a specific period (usually one to three years). The critical distinction was always the difference between "work for hire" and "authorship". (I might add that it also made a large difference in income tax preparation.)

So there isn't a quick answer. If you are the party preparing the contract, I would state precisely what I wanted to retain regarding copyrights and let the prospective client negotiate for any desired modifications. If the client presents a contract to you, read it carefully and edit it to suit your personal interests BEFORE signing it, then let them prepare a modified version which you can accept. If you have doubts about the phrasing, you might wish to consult an attorney with copyright experience if you can find one. You may also wish to use appropriate copyright notices in conspicuous places on your final reports.

You can read an excellent treatment of these issues in Chapter 7 ("Copyright and Fair Use" by Val D. Greenwood) of Professional Genealogy, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Ed., Genealogical Pub. Co., 200.


Morris Simon

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