The world of content creation is a booming industry that has grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years thanks to high demand via the internet. With so much demand out there, a blogger or freelancer may find his or herself up to their eyeballs with opportunities, but not all opportunities are created equally. In some cases, would-be thieves want to hijack your content without going through the proper channels of payment or contracts. In other cases, simple misunderstandings can lead to bigger disagreements over time. Whatever the case may be, technology is a force for both good and evil – you owe it to yourself to be informed. In the following article, we will outline some common scenarios and tips on how to protect and transfer your intellectual property rights.
No Contract, No Guarantees
The first and most important element concerned intellectual property rights when you are blogging or freelancing is that your content is not your content once you provide it to someone else unless you have a prior contact signed. While independent bloggers need not worry about this element, those that provide their services to clients – along with traditional freelancers – have no say in how their content is used once it has been provided to another party. This applies whether you have been working with a client for long periods of time or are sending over sample work to demonstrate your credentials. A contract may seem complicated and unnecessary in many situations but it is the only way in which you have say in how your intellectual property is handled and presented.
There can be a wide array of contract formats depending on the specific client or assignment, but the general outline is fairly universal. You own any and all content you create like you would any other item, and that content is considered to be yours until payment for said services has been rendered. In most cases, a client is not obligated to purchase a piece of content if he or she does not deem it to be adequate or otherwise acceptable for their needs. This also means that regardless of whether they have a copy of the content in their inbox, that the content in question does not belong if your contract requires payment in exchange for intellectual property rights.
This form of agreement can help protect you from unscrupulous or otherwise “dynamic” clients that may wish to change up requirements or back-track on previous conditions, and can serve in place of a formal contract when you first begin communicating with a potential client. A non-disclosure agreement will help clarify when and if clients can disclose various forms of content that have been presented prior to payment, and will in many cases discourage potential scammers and thieves from attempting to do business with you. A non-disclosure statement can be formally sent to a client at the beginning of an exchange, or can be included in the footer of each email so that all of your content is explicitly covered – it also reminds the client of these conditions.