I am currently dealing with problems concerning an article that I submitted, see Editor Troubles, and it made me realize that how many of us truly know our rights when it comes to Intellectual Properties.
To me it seems simple, and it boils down to two simple pronouns, I and my. I researched the article, I outlined the article, I wrote it, and so on. Therefore it is my article and they are my rights.
I'm sure if I didn't try to sell my articles to magazines or other publications it would be, however, I enjoy making the occasional dollar and I send out my articles with calm deliberation. I spend countless weeks chewing my nails waiting for the letter to say whether it has been approved or rejected. I rarely think of rights since I generally sell 1st rights for an article unless it is otherwise stipulated.
This isn't to say that I haven't sold full rights. Of course I have but how do you know your selling full rights and how do you stop people from using your work as your own? Also, if you sell full rights does that mean the purchaser can take your name off and put their own on it?
We've heard of ghostwriting so the answer seems fairly clear that the answer is sure, people can take your name off and use the work as their own but is it really that simply?
I am no expert on copyright law and I don't have the answers. I'm like thousands of other writers who have all the same questions. What are my rights? Can I keep my article to use again once I sell it? Do I lose all I put into the article simply because I want to see it in print?
With all those questions swimming in my head I hunted down a legitimate source to answer all my questions and although I am still reading it I strongly suggest that others visit this site and take a look at what your rights are.
After all, the only person who is going to look out for your own Intellectual Property Rights is you.
Visit the World Intellectual Property Organization at http://www.wipo.int/portal/index.html.en or go straight to their publication on copyrights at http://www.wipo.int/freepublications/en/intproperty/909/wipo_pub_909.pdf to find out what your rights are.