Ghostwriters from the Inside Out
Still, a surprising number of writers do cut corners, and in some cases, will lift
material wholesale without attributing it properly. Research citations are one
thing. Ripping off someone else’s work is something else.
To protect yourself we recommend you:
• Require all writers to state in writing (email or contract) that their work
will be 100% original
• Ask writers who are willing to do so to sign an indemnification clause
relating to originality of content – in other words, if someone later sues
you for copyright violations, you can turn around and sue the writer or
join the writer in your suit
• Invest the time to verify the originality of content if you have concerns.
Again, it should be fairly obvious from interacting with a writer whether
they are capable of writing, on their own or with approved resources from
their team if they have one, what they are submitting to you. If you have
doubts, or if you think you read something someplace before, there are
online services that can help, among them www.plagiarism.org and
http://www.web-miner.com/plagiarism#tools and others.
The Work For Hire Agreement
Almost always, when hiring a ghostwriter you will want to assert “work for
hire” rights, which is most easily done with a simple agreement.
What “work for hire” means legally is simply that the producer of the materials
assigns all the rights in that material to you – unlike for example when an author
writes a book and Alfred Knopf publishes it, the copyright in that book is
typically shared, sometimes in a fairly complicated way.
With “work for hire” rules, you pay for it, you own it. Simple as that.
You can find sample work for hire agreements all over the place, including,
along with a lot of good legal advice and self-help products, www.nolo.com.
Bear in mind that ghostwriters are a form of freelancer which are a category of
what legally known as “independent contractors” so much of the legal material
that applies to these relationships will be listed under that term at your library, in
a local bookstore, or of course, online.
© Copyright 2006 by Michael Rasmussen and Jason Tarasi - All Rights Reserved.