Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Another advantage of work for hire

A while back I did a post on the relative merits of work for hire vs. getting an advance on royalties in publishing contracts. If you're unclear on these terms check out the link.

After being a Gadling travel blogger for more than a year I've discovered another advantage of work for hire--when you sign away your rights you don't have to defend them. Gadling, or more precisely AOL Media, pays me a flat fee and then owns total rights to my posts. I agree to this because their flat fee is good and they have the most popular travel blog on the web. Once my posts go live, they are their property.

What a relief! With so many people stealing stuff from online sources I'd spend half my day tracking down copyright violations. For example, one blogger reused a photo of mine without permission, others have taken articles, and the Somaliland Times, a weekly English newspaper, reprinted my entire Somaliland travel series. Actually I don't mind that last one, because how many people in Hargeisa read Gadling?

So I can sit back and watch the plundering of my work with a serene detachment. Sure it's wrong, but it gets me more readers, and if AOL Media's lawyers want to do something about it, that's their job. I hope they don't go after the Somalis, though. The Somali people showed me so much hospitality they deserve to get my articles for free.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! It's something I never thought about when considering work for hire.

Anonymous said...

As a midlevel writer, how do you mantain access to JSTOR and other online publications? Do you pay-per-view, or do you have a univeristy or press that sponsors you?

Sean McLachlan said...

Hi anonymous!
I'm a reader at several national libraries, namely the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, the British Library in London, and the Bodleian in Oxford. I access JSTOR and other databases through them.

Benny Blogger said...


Apologies for use of the mailbox photo. I did give credit, but didnt know how to ask for permission.

I've pulled the picture.


Sean McLachlan said...

Okaaay. So he knew he needed permission but didn't know how to contact me. Even though there's contact information on Gadling's top bar. And on the bottom of the page. And in the blogger bio. Whatever.

This just goes to show that work-for-hire is definitely the way to go for online writing. People think if it's on the Net, it's up for grabs.

Benny Blogger said...


Under the "writers" link on the right of Gadling, Your name is listed but there's no e-mail link.

Might be a way to prevent this in the future?

Again. Apologies.

Sean McLachlan said...

I don't have a direct email on Gadling in order to impede the Nobama and conspiracy theory crowd. I do have a link to this blog, however, which has contact information. It does filter out 90% of the wingnuts, but not all. You should see some of the emails I get! Being such a public writer (especially one with outspoken positions) attracts all sorts of bizarre comments.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.