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Re: Client posts my text with himself as the Author

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Ace Contributor
Ramon v Member Since: Oct 28, 2015
1 of 14

THE SITUATION:

Shortly after beginning here on Upwork I started to write multiple texts for a client on ranging topics, from yoga to digital nomads. Sometimes they were blog posts, other times they were intros for an infographic and whatnot. Communication and all has been perfect with the client.

 

I just found out that the client posted my texts (along with those of others) on his/her blog. The only thing that kind of bugged me was the fact that at the bottom of the text it says author and then is shows the client's name, photo and a little description.

 

I don't really know what to think of this. In a way I don't really mind since I know he bought the texts from me. It provides sort of a steady income here on Upwork and the topics I'm writing about aren't very important to me personally.

but at the same time it feels a bit weird and kind of unfair to read my own text and then see the client as the author at the bottom of the page.

 

MY QUESTION:

I'm just curious about your opinions. Would you mind if this happened to you? Do you think it's fair or is it a dealbreaker? I'm really looking forward to your opinions. Thanks in advance. Smiley Wink

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 14

If you were paid the client owns the work. It is very common, and breaks no rules.

 

you can not even use any work you did for clients here in your portfolio without the client's permission...

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Community Leader
Cristian F Member Since: Jun 21, 2015
3 of 14

Hi Ramon,

 

I can't answer you from a legally perspective ( I assume you don't seek that type of answer ) but here's how I see things:

 

When you do work for a client and you get paid, everything belongs to the client. It's their business whether to give you credit or not.

 

I do websites, you write. At the end of the day we both provide services to other people. I have never asked a client to place a link on their website that points to my website. You know... Something that says "Developed by..."

 

I don't see it as a dealbreaker. But if you really want credit, go ahead and ask the client before starting writing for them. Find out yourself what your clients feel about this. 

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4 of 14
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@Ramon v wrote:

THE SITUATION:

Shortly after beginning here on Upwork I started to write multiple texts for a client on ranging topics, from yoga to digital nomads. Sometimes they were blog posts, other times they were intros for an infographic and whatnot. Communication and all has been perfect with the client.

 

I just found out that the client posted my texts (along with those of others) on his/her blog. The only thing that kind of bugged me was the fact that at the bottom of the text it says author and then is shows the client's name, photo and a little description.

 

I don't really know what to think of this. In a way I don't really mind since I know he bought the texts from me. It provides sort of a steady income here on Upwork and the topics I'm writing about aren't very important to me personally.

but at the same time it feels a bit weird and kind of unfair to read my own text and then see the client as the author at the bottom of the page.

 

MY QUESTION:

I'm just curious about your opinions. Would you mind if this happened to you? Do you think it's fair or is it a dealbreaker? I'm really looking forward to your opinions. Thanks in advance. Smiley Wink


If you are a journalist and provide an article for a magazine it will be published with your own name. Articles for weblogs are very often produced by a ghostwriter. However, this is something that has to be agreed between the client and the freelancer before starting work. Sometimes an agreement and a NDA has to be signed as well. Not to tell you that it will be published with the client's name is not a good style.

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Active Member
Tricia J Member Since: Oct 25, 2015
5 of 14

Copyright law is extremely complex and (as I understand it - happy to be corrected) in some parts of the world it is not even possible to sell 'full copyright, forever' (not a legal term!) of written work. But what you have experienced is common, and something that you need to discuss with the client.

 

Whether it's a dealbreaker is really up to you. Personally, I'm happy to see web/blog articles used this way in general, but there might be times where I would want to retain the right to identify myself as the writer. If you plan to use the piece in a portfolio then it's worth checking before you start work.

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
6 of 14

@Margarete M wrote:

Articles for weblogs are very often produced by a ghostwriter. However, this is something that has to be agreed between the client and the freelancer before starting work. Sometimes an agreement and a NDA has to be signed as well. Not to tell you that it will be published with the client's name is not a good style.


Ramon and Margarete,

 

No. Although writing sold via Upwork is not technically "work for hire" (under US law, which by default governs Upwork contracts), the Upwork default agreement and ToS treat it as such: The buyer is the legal author. Any request for credit or reuse must be requested by the "paternal" author—the actual creator. Such requests may be part of a writer's default contract, which supersedes the Upwork contract once accepted by the buyer.

 

Retaining any sort of rights to works created on Upwork is the sole responsibility of the creator to arrange—preferably in advance of accepting an offer—and is at the sole discretion of the buyer to grant.

 

Best,

Michael

 

edited to add: Each contractor must decide which rights if any to retain as a general policy, and whether that policy is a dealbreaker in the context of a particular prospective job and the income it represents.

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Community Guru
Cairenn R Member Since: Aug 19, 2015
7 of 14

Read up: 

http://copyright.gov/title17/

This should be the first place and only place any writer/artist should go before they even start selling their work. 

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 14

They can say that the author is a unicorn. Don't currrrrrr as long as the money is green and spendable.

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Ace Contributor
Ramon v Member Since: Oct 28, 2015
9 of 14

Thanks for all the replies and clearing things up. As I figured, the client holds all the rights since he bought the work. Since these texts are about subjects that don't have that much emotional value to me it's alright, but it's a good lesson for the future. I now know to discuss these things upfront in case I'm more emotionally attached to the work I'm delivering. Smiley Happy

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
10 of 14
Ramon,

Exactly. You mention one perfectly valid criterion for retaining some rights. Another consideration might be marketing value of having a byline in an area in which you specialize, on a respectable, well-trafficked platform. Though a publisher offering "exposure" instead of (adequate) pay has become a cliché for unjust exploitation, the value of immediate or longterm income, estimable value of "brand" recognition, and investment in or enjoyment of the work are all factors you can weigh against each other in a light of a particular prospective job.

Best,
Michael
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