For the last three weeks we have been covering the use of secondary sources. We talked about avoiding a halt in production of our work or a DMCA takedown notice due to an unwise use of secondary sources. We talked about how and where to look for items in copied content that may be from secondary sources, and how these sources can lead to an original source or to an administrator that can grant permission for the borrowed content use.
Caution in two additional areas will add to a feeling of security that the use of secondary sources will not result in lost time at the end of the publication process.
Sometimes an item an author/publisher wishes to use is an adaptation of another’s work. If that is the case, an author must acquire permission from two sources: from the material’s original owner/administrator and from the owners/administrators of the adaptation. The requestor must indicate clearly the changes made in the original in both requests. The borrowing authors must also credit both sources.
And authors should remember, they may secure a permission from a secondary source from someone who doesn’t really own the material. A yes from a non-owner is worth nothing to them. They should get a warranty statement that this secondary source has the right to grant permission. Sometimes authors/publishers are mistaken in thinking they still own content to which they have given up rights through a contract. Sometimes they just haven’t considered that they have borrowed content within their own work when granting for a whole piece that is partially theirs, partially someone else’s.
There are so many places these days to acquire what seems to be good content that fits our needs. The best way to make use of it is to develop an awareness of the pitfalls of borrowing and avoid them when possible. For those of us who author and/or publish on a daily basis, alertness to issues relating to copyright ownership and use requires constant vigilance.
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