Journalism - Legal Information

Copyright law is there to protect you but it is surprising the number of freelancers who are not fully aware of the legislation's depth and breadth. As a journalist you need to make yourself aware of what you can and cannot do and, just as importantly, what your clients can and cannot do. At the least ignoring copyright will leave you out of pocket and at worst could result in legal action.

Copyright legislation means that any stories, articles or publications you produce will be protected by law, preventing unauthorised reproduction of your work and also protecting your clients if you have assigned them copyright for a story.

Be careful with copyright. Many publications will ask you to assign your rights to them. Try not to do it, you may be able to adapt the story and sell it to more than one newspaper or magazine. But remember - there is no copyright on facts or ideas, you only own the "expression" of an article, for example, the way it is written.

Copyright means that you have the right to be paid for a third party to reproduce your work and that you have the right to be credited as the author of that work.

For more information see:

In Brief – For more on copyright for freelance writers.


More on freelance journalism