I Didn’t Sell All Rights!


Thanks for including Writer Receives $500 for Unauthorized Use in the latest issue. This story brought up a question for me that I’ve meant to pursue for a LONG time. Occasionally I freelance for the local newspapers and, per my contract, I retain the rights to the story. However, I’ve found my stories on “research” sites.

Can I approach these sites for unauthorized use of my work (it’s the “research” part that’s throwing me off)? Until I started freelancing full-time last year I was pretty lax on rights, but now that it’s my sole livelihood, I’m trying to be more vigilant. Any light you can shed on the topic would be

Thanks, Amanda Wegner .
Wegner Writer’s Cramp Communications

It looks like the newspapers are selling your work to “research” databases (they can call the sites whatever they want – what they’re doing is still illegal). The way to find out is to invoice each database for the unauthorized use of your work. Once you do, the finger pointing will begin and you’ll know who is ultimately responsible – the newspapers for selling your work or the databases for stealing your work.