Publishing Law

INGL 4255: Professional Editing


What is the industry standard for ownership of writing done on assignment while employed by a publisher or as an intern of a publisher? Does anyone copyright for the employee or intern, or is it strictly copyright of the publisher only? In what case would a publisher allow the employee or intern to own the copyright on their writing?

ANSWER (03/2013):

In regard to your question, in virtually all cases, any writing done for one’s employer is the property/copyright of that employer, unless specifically exempted by a letter of agreement. In short, it’s considered Work for Hire. In order to avoid this situation, the writer should get a letter of exemption in advance. Keep in mind that I’m not an attorney. Jonathan Kirsch might have a different view of things.

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