Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.242.115.55

Forum Moderators: LifeinAsia

Message Too Old, No Replies

Name Removed from Articles I Wrote

     
4:56 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 11, 2002
posts: 294
votes: 0


I used to work for a Search Engine Marketing company in the US. As part of the work there I wrote a number of articles for the company's website/blog. Some of these fell under works for hire while I own the copyright to some of the others as I wrote them prior to my employment there.

I have no issue with the articles still being on the company site, but after I left they removed my name form the articles and put in someone else's instead as the author. So much for giving credit where credit is due.

I emailed the company owner and did not get a response. Is there anything I can do, or should I just leave it as is?

7:46 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Oct 25, 2005
posts:3589
votes: 45


"I used to work"

I assume you were paid for the time it took to write the article. If so you need to just forget it they own it and can put whoever they want on it, unless of course in your contract with them you have this in writing other than that forget it....

8:50 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 27, 2007
posts:7
votes: 0


If it's a work for hire, they own it and can do as they please. If you own the copyright, then it is plagiarism. You should talk to a lawyer.

Possible actions:
* Have a lawyer send them a nasty letter
* Send a DMCA takedown request to their ISP
* Sue them

At this point, you're much better off talking to a lawyer than a bunch of webmasters. There are a couple potential issues: (1) their distribution of your copyrighted material, and (2) the plagiarism of someone else republishing your work under his name.

1:14 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 11, 2002
posts: 294
votes: 0


If it's a work for hire, they own it and can do as they please. If you own the copyright, then it is plagiarism...There are a couple potential issues: (1) their distribution of your copyrighted material, and (2) the plagiarism of someone else republishing your work under his name.

Thanks for the responses.

As a bit of clarification, they do have the right to use the articles - I was just not sure if they had the right to change them or put someone else's name on it as the author - AKA plagiarism.

I did some more research on the matter and what I found is that for articles that were works for hire, they can display and use them, but not change them or claim that someone else wrote them.

Now I have to decide if I want to lawyer up, or try and contact their hosting company about it.

1:21 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from MY 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 1, 2003
posts:4847
votes: 0


As a bit of clarification, they do have the right to use the articles - I was just not sure if they had the right to change them or put someone else's name on it as the author - AKA plagiarism.

It is normally termed 'creating a derivative work' and it is a breach of your copyright. DMCA will do you just fine in these circumstances, served to their host (not them).
5:23 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 2, 2005
posts:529
votes: 0


As a bit of clarification, they do have the right to use the articles - I was just not sure if they had the right to change them or put someone else's name on it as the author - AKA plagiarism.

I did some more research on the matter and what I found is that for articles that were works for hire, they can display and use them, but not change them or claim that someone else wrote them.

A bit late to the party here, but I'll chuck in my two penn'orth anyway.

Your clarification states that they do have the right to use the articles - presumably, your ex employer owns the copyright?

Generally, under any 'work for hire' agreement, this is the case, and as copyright holders, they are also entitled to edit, amend or change the article as they see fit, and are not obliged to credit you as the original author. The employer is seen as the author, not the individual employee. The US does not recognise 'moral rights' in the way countries outside the US do.

Under US law, the copyright holder has every right to authorise derivative works - so the clear question here is who is the copyright holder? You, or your ex employer?

Usual disclaimer - IANAL - but you'd be wise to check with one before you issue potentially damaging notices. :)

5:51 pm on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 15, 2003
posts:2624
votes: 4


I am pretty sure that they cannot change the author credit to another individual unless he made enough addendums to the original that it could now be called his work.

They should either leave you on the author byline or put for """paper commissioned by the company name"""

Outright taking credit for a work that isn't yours.... didn't "milli vanilli" get into trouble for this and even had awards for the work taken away.

It is one thing to commission a work for your company it is quite another to pass it off as the work of another. Regardless of any copyright law... that is plagiarism.

Imagine I hire a famous photographer to take photos for me and and it is a "work for hire" situation.... I can't them claim I took the photos, put them on my website and in my portfolio and claim I am the creator of the work. It just doesn't work that way.

Ghost writing is what it is called when you create a work for someone and they are going to claim it was them and not you. I doubt you agreed to such a thing.

[edited by: Demaestro at 5:55 pm (utc) on Oct. 15, 2007]