Archive for August, 2009

Archive for August, 2009

Transferring Copyright

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I have come to the conclusion that copyright should be non-transferable. It should reside with the creator of the work, and only be licensable to others.

This solves many problems in the artistic world: insane inheritors (ref: the estate of C.S. Lewis), extorting middlemen (ref: music labels, book publishers), and the difficulty of finding out who owns the copyright at all anymore (ref: some content from the CBC is CBC-owned, other content is owned by the contracted reporter).

I have instituted a policy for myself: I will never accept a copyright transfer from another party. If I need the right to do something with someone’s work (such as distribute/sell it, which I will be involved in soon) I need only ask them to sign off on a license. Whether that is a public license, or only a license for me, depends on the circumstances, but there is no reason for me to own another’s work.

I have not transferred my copyrights for any work done this summer, although I imagine any US court would consider what I did at the request of MashLogic to be “work for hire”, since I was paid. Should I return to AideRSS, I imagine that they will require a similar agreement to last time (they own all work I produce “using company resources”). I am okay with that for now. It’s unnecessary, but I don’t call the shots. I will never require it of another.

I think if I were in an industry where there are more middlemen (ie: music) I would be more adamant about keeping my rights. If I were offered an option between more money and negotiating to keep more of my rights, I would quickly spring for the latter.