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Re: listing anauthored articles on portfolio

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Community Guru
Melanie M Member Since: Jul 13, 2016
11 of 17

When the client pays you for the material, it's HIS and no longer yours. Do not put it in your portfolio or anywhere else without express permission from the client. Do not link without permission. As for NDA's, treat everything you provide your client as if you signed an NDA, whether you did or not. It's the ethical thing to do. Yes, it can be frustrating. Some of my best work now belongs to someone else, as well. I have asked permission to put a couple of pieces on my portfolio and been denied. I respectfully comply. It's how this game is played, and I knew that going in. 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
12 of 17

Melanie M wrote:

When the client pays you for the material, it's HIS and no longer yours. Do not put it in your portfolio or anywhere else without express permission from the client. Do not link without permission....Yes, it can be frustrating. Some of my best work now belongs to someone else, as well. I have asked permission to put a couple of pieces on my portfolio and been denied. I respectfully comply. It's how this game is played, and I knew that going in. 


True. It's also true that traditionally, publishers are generous in extending the courtesy of uses like portfolio listings. Web publishers and Upwork purchasers of writing/authorship credit may be unaware of this tradition, or have their own reasons for withholding permission. One approach is to make the request for portfolio use upfront, for example in a standard contract agreed to before beginning work.

Note also that when you submit linkable work done via Upwork to your portfolio, Upwork places the submission on hold while they contact the client for permission, on an opt-out basis. In other words, if the client fails to respond, Upwork (and its legal counsel) consider permission to have been granted, and will release the hold on your item. The maxim of the law applied here is that silence implies consent.

Ace Contributor
Jason S Member Since: Apr 27, 2018
13 of 17

Thank you and everyone for your feedback.

As it turns out I already follow all of the above procedures, both on Upwork and on my personal website;  I only list articles  (links, and not full text, regardless of what some commenters misread my statement to be) for which I am clearly the author, and have been ok'ed by the client. 


I was just hoping to expand what I can show on my own site, as Upwork seems to have trouble listing multiple articles per client, even if they are all okay, regardless of how many I have done for a client, as they see it all as "one job."  This can be frustrating as I've done all manner of work often for the same high quality clients.

(As the number of articles has grown far beyond what I can simply put into a flat file, I will create a database, and have an indicator to allow myself to choose what displays.  At least this way I can keep track of everything even if I can't share it publicly) 

These are some pretty frustrating rules, as while I understand the copyright contracts, it's like not being allowed to put a job on a resume, suggesting that one had not done much work at all, which is not the truth by a large margin.

Oh well.  I guess the 10-20% they take from us is not enough. Smiley Wink

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
14 of 17

I haven't looked at my portfolio for a long time. At one point (I think this was Upwork, but it could have been Elance), there was the option of adding your own text description (e.g. "One of 72 articles written for this client. Details available on request.") Frustrating, perhaps, if a dozen of your best articles were written for that client, but if that feature exists you can still indicate both your productivity and clients' continued satisfaction.

 

You mention filtering. There is also the option of maintaining a duplicate of your off-platform portfolio - a public one with contact information and an Upwork-linkable version with no contact information.


Another point to consider is that the prohibition on sites with contact information applies to your public profile and portfolio. If memory serves, as early as in your proposal, you may provide contact information directly or indirectly.

Finally, Upwork does screen client messages for links, and has been consistently reported as being overzealous in killing links that are technically permissible. So whatever I've just said you may do:
a) could be wrong, because I'm writing from memory and not checking

b) may not be practical to do because Upwork's screening algorithms will interfere even if you are doing no "wrong."

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
15 of 17

If you worked through Upwork and didn't create a custom contract, then you sold all rights to the article to the client and really don't have the right to claim authorship without permission, even if there's no byline on the article. That said, it's not an issue for most clients if the content is unattributed.

 

When someone else's name is on it, it's much more than "awkward" to publicly claim authorship--you're completely undermining what you were hired to do, which was to write an article to help boost the visibility and perception of expertise of the named author. Don't do that.

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
16 of 17

Tiffany S wrote:

....When someone else's name is on it, it's much more than "awkward" to publicly claim authorship--you're completely undermining what you were hired to do, which was to write an article to help boost the visibility and perception of expertise of the named author. Don't do that.


There is a clear divergence here between current Internet practice and the norms of traditional publishing, where direct or indirect acknowledgment of the ghostwriter is not uncommon.

I, and at least one other writer/editor here, have occasionally asked for and received permission to showcase our ghostwriting with the credit of "developmental editing." This makes most sense in the context of longer works (pamphlet to book length), and might be useful or not depending on whether you are marketing yourself as an editor as well as a writer.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
17 of 17

Douglas Michael M wrote:

Tiffany S wrote:

....When someone else's name is on it, it's much more than "awkward" to publicly claim authorship--you're completely undermining what you were hired to do, which was to write an article to help boost the visibility and perception of expertise of the named author. Don't do that.


There is a clear divergence here between current Internet practice and the norms of traditional publishing, where direct or indirect acknowledgment of the ghostwriter is not uncommon.

I, and at least one other writer/editor here, have occasionally asked for and received permission to showcase our ghostwriting with the credit of "developmental editing." This makes most sense in the context of longer works (pamphlet to book length), and might be useful or not depending on whether you are marketing yourself as an editor as well as a writer.


I also have many ghostwritten samples I share with the client's consent. That is a far different thing than publicly posting "I wrote this" about something the client posted under his own name or the name of the relevant member of his team.

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