Avoiding Legal Hassles

Three interesting facts: (Chapter 3 – PRCA 3330)

1.  Libel & Defamation.  Libel is injury to reputation through words,  pictures or cartoons that expose a person to public hatred, shame, disgrace or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person.

  • Juries award libelous defamation damages based on four points:
  1. the statement was published to others by print (including emails and blogs) or broadcast
  2. the plaintiff was identified or is identifiable
  3. there was actual injury in the form of monetary losses, impairment of reputation, humiliation, or mental anguish and suffering
  4. the publisher of the statement was malicious or negligent

2.  Knowledge of copyright law is important for two reasons:

  • to know what organizational materials should be copyrighted
  • how to correctly utilize copyrighted materials of others

3.  Under current law a work is automatically copyrighted the moment it is “fixed” in tangible form.  A copyright protects original material for the life of the creator plus 70 years for individual works and 95 years from publication for copyrights held by corporations.

  • If you create a work as an employee, the copyright belongs to the organization.
  • Freelance writers retain ownership of their work.  Purchasers of it gain a “license” to reproduce the copyrighted work.

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