[thelist] Copyright Liability Question

the head lemur headlemur at clearskymail.com
Thu Jul 25 10:05:01 CDT 2002

> =============================
> While it would be a clear violation of the magazine's copyright for her to
> post the article without permission, I don't think that you personally
> much to worry about.
> =============================

Two items.

First does your contract have a "hold harmless" clause? That you are
publishing on the clients behalf believing the client has obtained the
necessary releases to the material you are posting? Text Images Logos...
(you will be able to point to this section of your design contract and may
avoid damages if this should escalate into a courtroom foodfight. But like I
say, I am not a lawyer)

Second, The entire article? Yes.

Despite that it is a piece of a larger work, i.e the magazine, The Tansini
201> which gave freelance contributors to the New York Times control over
their works, and subsequently gutted the electronic archives that some
libraries have for research, the article is a complete piece.

If it was written as a 'work for hire', copyright rests with the magazine.
If it was written and the author retained copyright and licenses the work,
then the author/ and author's agent will need to be contacted for

The 'Fair Use Exemption' allows for  reproduction of a "quoted" portion for
commentary and or parody.  The line on fair use is a grey one, from a brief
passage to the entire article minus a couple of words.

Both of the uses need attribution i.e. a citation of the original source, in
this case the location of the article, Without attribution, the posting
becomes 'plagerism' http://sja.ucdavis.edu/avoid.htm
and there is an enormous body of case law that will turn your clients
posting into a slam dunk court decision for the copyright holder.

Even brief passages without attribution can snowball quickly into a legal

In either case signed permission is the best way to avoid the entire
courtroom saga as you will be dragged into the fray under the 'joint and
several liability' which is the standard starting point for these types of

I have been there and done that.

<tip type="development paperwork">
Always get permissions to materials to be reposted in writing and retain a
copy for your records. Print your emails, copy any written communication,
and where ever possible in the case of association links, i.e. logos
pointing to client vendor or partners, be sure you and your clients
understand their use and permissions for those uses.

the head lemur
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