I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

Refer to older posts…

Blogging services

HCI chat


who owns the copyright?

Although I am not a lawyer and copyright is a complex area of law, I get a number of questions about copyright. Recently, I was asked about the ownership of content when a contractor writes something for a business and which entity would be listed in a copyright notice.

copyright symbolGenerally, if you create something you own the copyright unless you assign it (in writing with a signature) to someone else. So if your agreement with a client doesn’t specify otherwise, you own the copyright in general terms.

You can assign a client the copyrights to use the material in certain ways – but perhaps limit them from owning other rights (e.g. international or movie rights) There does not have to be an exchange of money to exchange copyright – but it is something worth setting a price for commercially. Once you assign copyright to them, they own the copyright on the material under those stated conditions and thus only they would be on any copyright notice.

If you are an employee or a contractor under certain circumstances, the company owns copyright even if you are the creator. For contractors, this usually includes an agreement or expectation between you and the company, and may apply if they have initiated the work and paid you for all your time working on the project.

If a client owns the copyright, they don’t have to include your name in a copyright notice; if you own it, it is more likely that your notice would state ‘copyright owned by Justine and assigned to XYZ’ or equivalent.

Note that you will ALWAYS own the moral rights to the materials as these can not be bought or given away. This means that they can not represent the work in way that is negative towards you, deny it is written by you or adjust it and still call it yours.

When preparing a quote and agreement for companies, take copyright into consideration. Some of the things I write are useless to me anyway (e.g. a resume for someone else) so copyright isn’t worth fussing about, but if I write an article then copyright becomes a bigger issue and I charge more to give the other party full copyright over it.

Who owns copyright and how it is publicly presented depends upon the arrangement between you and a specific client. And not being a lawyer, I can’t give you a definitive answer but hopefully the above helps. Try www.copyright.org.au and get a copyright lawyer’s details from them if copyright becomes an issue for you.


Choosing a web designer

Without a good web designer, it’s very hard to get an effective website live to grow your business so here are my top tips in picking a good designer for your business.

  1. make sure you are comfortable with them – if you can’t communicate you’re fighting uphill before you start
  2. look at the designer’s (not the design company’s) portfolio to be sure you like their work – and that they don’t all look like replicas of the same site
  3. check their credentials – do they have relevant training? how much experience do they have?
  4. ask others for feedback – check within your network for previous clients of the designer. And that includes asking your social media networks, too.
  5. make sure you are very clear on what is (and isn’t) included in the price – remember to check details like copyright and licensing on tools
  6. ensure you get full access to your site once it is done – you don’t want to be locked into the designer making every little change on your site moving forward (even if you want them to manage it most of the time, give yourself options)
  7. customer service – if it is questionable during the query/quote phase, do you want to assume they will answer emails quickly when your deadline is approaching?
  8. personal contact – bigger companies may give you an account manager rather than direct contact with a designer. Personally, I find it easier to talk with the designer than let my comments go through a third person and to be sure I get the same designer, but if you relate to the account manager you may be happy with that arrangement.
  9. convenience – is the designer local enough to see them? Or are you comfortable enough to work via email/phone/etc?
  10. price – look at what it includes before comparing it and remember that neither the cheapest nor the most expensive are automatically the best. Freelance sites, in my experience, under pay so I wouldn’t look there for realistic prices or the best designers
From personal experience, I thoroughly recommend Web Graphics By Email (although they are booked out for months) and Shel Design (very professional and accommodating).

This post is part of Word Constructions’ Setting up a website series
1. having a website helps more than you
2. what’s involved in setting up a website?
3. Learn about web hosting
4. Preparing your initial website content
5. Managing website design 101

related content – how do you choose a good writer?

A copyrighting expert?

Back in November, I wrote a post about the difference between copyright and copywrite. If you think about the actual words, it isn’t hard to tell them apart either (copyright is about rights for instance.)

Yet I have just come across a website with the following sentence:

we have combined many years of copyrighting skills to create magical letters for every occasion.

As much as the misuse of copyrighting annoys me, it being misused in a sentence where the writer claims to be an expert writer  is shocking. Of course, I am also curious as how to someone combines years to create anything.

Before I get on my soap box about people posing as experts and (in my opinion) trying to fool people*, let me give you a much better version of the above sentence:

Together, we have many years of copywriting experience which we use to create magical letters for every occasion.

* I don’t know anything else about the writing skills of the site using the above sentence so I am not commenting on their level of expertise or claiming they are unethical. It is just a general comment that I hate people presenting themselves as more than they are and errors such as this are sometimes an indicator of such behaviour.

Copyright or copywrite?

Blocks of textWriting is always ‘writing’, yet it is amazing how many times I get asked to do some ‘copyrighting’ or asked ‘who owns the copywrite?’ So here’s a quick explanation of these common terms…

 copyright – protection of materials (e.g. articles, books, songs, photos, designs) by giving only the owner the right to copy the materials

copywrite – the act of writing text for a brochure, article, website, ad, etc (copy being a common term for the text in these items)

So I own the copyright of entries in this blog and I can call myself a professional copywriter.