Writing Rights and Work For Hire

If you pay a writer to provide content for you, make sure you have the rights and license information spelled out in your contract. You may not own what you assume you own!

When you hire a writer to “Work for Hire”, you own your content and in most cases you can use it any way you please for your website, blog, press releases, and feature articles. Some writers will restrict your use of their created content and license it only for specific uses. It is important to spell out your use rights as you will not always clearly own someone else’s work even if you pay for it in full.

In our case, we do not “work for hire”. We had a situation where a client took our created blog content and told us that they were creating a book which they intended to pass off as their own writing. Clearly we should have received acknowledgment as the writer and possibly even received royalties. Since that situation, we spell out in our letter of agreement for all writing that we license the content to you, but retain ownership. This will prevent unauthorized use of our work for purposes other than which it was intended.

Most writers have various rates for different types of writing and uses. We pay our writers one rate for blogs and another rate for articles, web content, and press releases. It is important to understand that assuming you own content clearly for whatever use you want needs to be nailed down in a written contract to prevent a copyright infringement. Remember the writer or firm which created the work owns the copyright, not you, unless you legally transfer it to you as part of the contracted payment in writing.

When you hire a writer, make sure you both clearly document ownership and intended use, it will prevent possible legal ramifications.