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hiring a ghost writer

what are the rules of copyright

6:07 am on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am looking to hire a ghost writer for a web site. Should i have them sign some sort of agreement that they wont resell any of the articles they are selling me? If they just email me saying they agree is that enough or should i ask for signed paper.
What are your thoughts and experiences?
11:40 am on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You should indeed make explicit the terms of the agreement right from the start and having it done by snail mail, with signatures in place, just can't be beat (although many jurisdiction's acknowledge the legality of contracts agreed by email).

In your agreement you could state something like:

"Upon payment in full the copyright to all works commissioned in this agreement will reside with [insert your name/business here]."


[edited by: Syzygy at 11:46 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]

7:31 am on Oct 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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most people do it the way Syzygy has suggested.

Also, if you hire some company instead of a single person, they will be more responsible and trust-able. An individual may not care much about the legal issues if he is from some country like India, Pakistan, South Asian or East European countries. Even the legal contract you have will not be able to scare them.

12:47 pm on Oct 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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that is the best way to handle things for sure!
1:54 pm on Oct 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Using a third-party quoting service where there is a witness to terms set forth prior to work being started is also helpful.

I hesitate to drop names but I've been using one such service for some time with great results.

7:57 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)


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If you hire a writer with a good reputation on one of the major freelance sites, they will probably be unwilling to risk their reputation by ripping off the content they sold you. Look for a combination of high ratings, many ratings, and multiple years on the site.

Contracting directly with an individual, or even a small firm, in a country where you don't reside and where it would be expensive or perhaps impossible to enforce your agreement carries the risk that you can get taken advantage of with impunity, contract language notwithstanding.

8:47 pm on Oct 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In agreement with pretty much all that has been said above.

Do get it in writing, and have it signed. If you are not there in person with them, you should require them to have a notary verify and also sign.

You need to use explicit and precise language about who owns the copyright of the content that the "ghost writer" creates. If you don't, it is fairly ambiguous, and you could lose the copyright to that content, regardless of whether or not they sell it to someone else. They are essentially an independent contractor just like any other, including software developers, and you need to have an agreement that enforces it accordingly.

Think of who owns the content, and what rights if any you want to give to the ghost writer, including whether they can use it as a writing sample, etc.


8:57 pm on Oct 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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If you're in the States searc around for [work for hire agreement]. You'll find a lot of information and even some boilerplate forms.

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