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Ghost writing - Asking a Freelance Professional to Allow Name on Article?

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
21 of 27

re: "And why I'm not sure of the ToS status"

 

I have no comment on the morality or ethics of this. Or on whether this violates the standards of any particular professional group.

 

I'm just pointing out that there is nothing in Upwork ToS that prohibits this.

 

Joseph referenced a prohibition against creating "hoax news" or similar "false content." But that has nothing to do with whose name is on the piece.


I haven't seen the job posting that Joseph is referring to. I don't know anything about it.

 

But if what Joseph is objecting to is ghost-writing, then what I would say is simply:

 

Upwork does not prohibit ghost-writing

or reverse ghost-writing

Community Guru
Joseph C Member Since: Jan 22, 2016
22 of 27

Preston,

 

One more observation.

 

The Job Poster is seeking 10 Freelancers.

 

 

 

 

Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV
Community Guru
Joseph C Member Since: Jan 22, 2016
23 of 27

Preston,

 

Usually when I read your postings, I am in total agreement with you.

 

But not on this.  As I on copied on this thread earlier, earlier, the TOS states:

 

"regard the creation, publication, distribution of “fake news”, “hoax news” or similar false content purposefully intended to mislead readers for financial or other gain;"

 

Asking for a CPA to be paid for just letting the Job Poster use his name and CPA deisgnation for  articles not written by the CPA is, IMO, "content purposefully intended to mislead readers for financial or other gain.  The Job Poster is ghost writing articles directed to other CPAs, purportedly authored by a CPA,  and the Job Poster expects to get a financial gain in doing so. 

 

I believe it is clearly and absolutely prohibited by the UW TOS.

 

However, as you may have observed, at his request, I PM'd the Job link to the Mod and it is being looked at again and followed up.  I am content with that.

 

Joe

 

 

Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV
Community Guru
Joseph C Member Since: Jan 22, 2016
24 of 27

Hi Preston,

 

My issue is that the ghost writer clearly wants to masquerade as a properly licenced CPA .  I tried to avoid quoting from the Job listing but, maybe, this won't be deleted:

 

From the Job Post:

 

"This is where you come in. I need to attribute these articles to licensed CPA's. You would be reviewing and approving the articles, prior to publishing on our site."

 

The Job also requires that only Licensed CPAs may apply.

 

At least to me, that is very different from a writer of a novel showing the author as a "famous" person. I don't for sure, but it seems like every James Patterson novel "authored" in the last several years was not actually written by him. 

 

As I see it, this Job Poster is inviting CPA freelancers to commit fraud.

 

Joe

 

 

Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV
Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
25 of 27

Joseph, not only is the request borderline legal (IMHO) but - and apparently more important in this venue - it is against ToS.  This is misrepresentation - to the max.

 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
26 of 27

I don't think this is an attempt to commit fraud. I think a freelancer is attempting to push product. This is, as I read it, a more sophisticated version of the misguided use of job posts to say "hire me."

In this case the ghostwriter, for their own reasons, proposes being the buyer rather than the seller. While the monetary relationship is reversed, the ethics are not dissimilar from those of, say, a certified CPA who wants content written that will burnish their reputation or win them business: the ghostwriter does the actual writing work, the nominal author checks the content, attaches their name, and reaps the benefit.

Once the work is done and all parties are satisfied with it, the nominal author has a piece to use, provided the actual author turns over the rights to it, overriding the default ownership contract. If not, the nominal author is at a disadvantage, since their name and purported content can be broadcast across the Internet without their input or control.

If the ownership is not reversed to fit the standard ghostwriting model, it's rather a can of worms, even if neither the ethics of ghostwriting nor ToS has been violated. Reputational value accrues to the actual author, who is presumably trying to build a portfolio. Reputational value might or might not accrue to the nominal author, depending on where, when, and how the actual author decides to publish.

Community Guru
Joseph C Member Since: Jan 22, 2016
27 of 27

Douiglas Michael,

 

It is clear that in the case of this Job Posting, there is no intent whatsoever that the actual author (ghostwriter, who is not a CPA) turns over rights to the nominal author (the CPA).

 

If the CPA did receive the ownership rights and control over where and how the article is published, what accompanying articles are in the publication and what fee would be charged to the readers, I would not have an issue with this Job Post.

 

But that is not the case.

 

An bit of a stretched analogy that I see is like a MD signing a prescription, without knowing anything about the patient, who receives the Rx drugs but not from an MD.

 

I continue to believe this Post is fraudulent to the reader of the article,  illegal, unethical and probably would be outside of the ToS of reputable publishers if they were aware of the scheme,  as Upwork is.

 

Joe

 

Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV
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