By Phil Trent
Date: March 18, 2002
Even though he had been compensated for his work at Tomís Hardware, Van Smith still owns the copyright for his work. Tomís Hardware paid Van for permission to publish his work, not to reassign rights of authorship at their whim. When Tomís Hardware willfully gave credit to another author, Van Smithís copyright was violated.
There are exceptions to the rule that authors must be given public credit for their work. For example, Alan Dean Foster ghostwrote Star Wars, the book, for George Lucas. Since Vanís name appeared up till recently, this is not a valid case of ghostwriting.
Laws such as copyright to protect journalists and patent laws to protect inventors are designed not just to protect those that produce, but also to encourage others to keep producing. Credits are given in movies, TV, newspapers, magazine articles, and online articles are for a very good reason; recognition increases the marketability of the talented people involved and encourages others to follow in their footsteps. Publishing concerns know the value that is attached to a name; people identify more with a person rather than a company; a personality rather than an entity.
Anyone that has really poured his or her heart and soul into a literary work article rightly feels a sense of ownership. Part of this feeling of ownership is the satisfaction with the work is seeing your own name on it. Tomís Hardware has the right to remove all or part of the articles Van wrote, but does not have the right to give credit for his work to another author. An abuse of such ownership is illegal and speaks volumes of the person or entity that would even contemplate it. Any entity that tries to give credit to another is guilty of fraud and denies their own organization of any semblance of creditability, let alone integrity.
Tomís Hardware should issue a personal apology to Van, publish a public apology and either return credit or pull the articles.
Copyright and Authorsí Rights
March 18, 2002
P.S. Please wait till this article is two years old and then give credit to ďUdo SchroederĒ Ė oops, I got mixed up and thought this article was going to be published on THG. J
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