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Author Topic: Original Author Rights  (Read 1195 times)


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Original Author Rights
« on: 10-08-16 at 03:15 pm »

Hi Everyone, first time poster here looking for some advice and clarification.

Recently I provided weekly articles for a website as a volunteer/contributor. I was not paid for these articles but put in a lot of time week after week researching and writing quality content. I had to step away as life got busy with too  many commitments. Shortly afterwards, the site I was writing for changed all of my articles from showing me as the author to making it as though the site itself wrote all of the articles. This is disappointing as I was going to use these articles as a reference of my writing in the future when I have time and start writing again on maybe my own blog or for another site.

Is the site I was writing for allowed to change the author, and take credit for my articles, or is the intellectual property theirs since I was a volunteer writer?

Hoping to get feedback. thanks

Robert T Nicholson

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Re: Original Author Rights
« Reply #1 on: 10-08-16 at 03:38 pm »

My first question is, have you contacted the site operators?  Often a simple conversation can resolve problems like this.

Assuming they are not cooperating, the next question would be, what does your contract say?

If you do not have a contract, the situation may be covered by the site Terms of Use, which you may have accepted by contributing to the site. 

There may also be an implied contract if there was an employer/employee relationship.

If none of these applies, then the situation is murky, but it is likely that you retain copyright to the work.  If the site operators refuse to credit you, you could file a DMCA takedown request for each article with their hosting company.  I recommend filing separate notices, one per day, rather than grouping all the pages in one request.  (Hosting companies HATE dealing with these things, and will often shut down a site entirely if they get repeated takedown requests.)  See:

This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center


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Re: Original Author Rights
« Reply #2 on: 10-08-16 at 04:04 pm »

Thanks for your response artchain.

To answer your questions. First, it was an informal agreement where I just emailed articles to the site operator. It was volunteering, so never really thought to have a contract in place. Was just happy writing articles at the time as a hobby. I have tried to contact them, but never received a response. I heard the operator/management may have changed recently, so maybe there is something behind the scenes going on. I notice one other author who left recently also had their name taken down from articles, but all the others seem to be the same.

It's nothing I'm going to lose sleep about, it's more the principle of the situation and the disrespect of not crediting someone for their work, especially when the site itself got benefit from my work for no charge in the first place.

I never thought to check the terms of use, so I'll look there as well. If you have any other thoughts, let me know. Thanks.



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Re: Original Author Rights
« Reply #3 on: 10-09-16 at 01:10 pm »

Depending on where you and the site and the site owners are located, you might be able to argue "moral rights of authorship".  It's more a thing in Europe.

Also note that the Wayback Machine ( ) may be able to pull up the older versions of your articles so that you can prove authorship.
"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.


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