Copyright Essentials for Associations + Organizations Publishing Newsletters and Magazines, Part II

See Part I of this post.

Organizing Permissions

When obtaining permission to include content in your newsletter or magazine, get that permission in writingto create proof or a trail of your permissions. Develop a file system to document permissions with, if possible, a search mechanism to help you locate permissions as you receive them. This way you can easily and quickly search these permissions when using the same content in another manner or in an additional publication. Also, if another publication, website or content aggregator asks to reproduce your newsletter, you can check your permissions system to determine what content you may relicense to others.

Remember, creating a trail of your permission-seeking efforts (e-mails, faxes, telephone calls, etc.) is not the same as obtaining permission. If you do not obtain permission from a copyright owner, you are not able to reproduce that owner’s work (unless it otherwise falls under one of the provisions in the U.S. Copyright Act.)

If you cannot obtain permission (e.g., you cannot locate the copyright holder, time is of the essence, or the permission fee is too expensive for your budget), keep in mind that you may be able to write your own article on a particular topic. In copyright, it is the words used to express an idea that are protected, not the idea itself. Therefore, you can write your own summary or article about ideas, news, facts and history found in copyright-protected works. The key here is to use your own words.

Copyright in Your Publication

The individual articles, photographs and other works in your publication likely have copyright protection, and so may your publication as a whole. Include a copyright notice on your publication with information on how others can obtain permission to re-use part or all of the publication. Although copyright is automatic in 165 countries, the symbol © is universally understood, and including the symbol with a link to your email address will help towards reminding readers that permission is needed to reproduce your newsletter.

Remember, you can only allow others to reproduce your publication if you own the rights in the underlying works as discussed above. If you prefer that your publication be used freely in certain circumstances, state that on your publication.  You can also consider choosing a CC license that reflects this.

Global Protection

The way that copyright works, you have copyright protection in your own country and in most countries where your newsletter is read. This is automatic once you have copyright protection in any of the 165 Berne copyright convention countries.



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