View Full Version : Rights and useage. Please help.

04-24-2008, 09:39 PM
Howdy folks,

Not sure where to ask this so if it is in the wrong place then MODs please move to the correct place.

Here is the low down:

I am a qualified Kindergarten teacher. I responded to an add for a kindergarten curriculum writer. Hey right up my street! Got the gig, wrote the Kindy Curriculum and sent off the copy for them to have a look at.

I have just recieved an email and they said:

"Do I have rights to this? I want to be able to sell it on a website. Otherwise it looks good, I would just have to add to it right, like some activities and such."

Now the ad said it was for home schooling and implied that the person themselves would use the curriculum. There was no mention of it being sold until now.

I undertstand "Writer for Hire" that what i write belongs to that person or Co. but there was no mention of selling it on the web until now or i would have made a better deal.

However it is a great (even if I do say so my self!!) comprensive 3 year curriculum. It covers a monthly theme which is broken down into a weekly theme, with exercise, songs and a lot of activities all added in.

So i was thinking that i too could sell it. It is good and i am sure it could sell.

Basically what i am asking is this:

1) Is there a way that we both could sell this curriculum - legally

2) Would my name go on the curriculum or theirs?

3) If they sell it could i get a percentage of the money from their sales?

So if you can give me any words of wisdom and legal info that would be great.

I will wait to see what you guys and gals say before I reply to the email.



04-24-2008, 11:26 PM
Did you have a contract or a letter of agreement? If so, what did it say about rights?

04-25-2008, 12:41 AM
I hate to be a wet blanket, but you need a lawyer to answer that question about the work you already did. It depends very much on what you agreed to do, what is in writing, what direction they provided, and all kinds of very complex questions that depend strongly on your state and local laws.

Now, for new work - it is perfectly possible for you to give someone what is called a perpetual nonexclusive license to the work you do for them, which essentially means they can behave in every way as though they own it... but they don't; you do. So you can also exercise all those same rights yourself, or license them to other people, or whatever. I really like this option, because it lets my client have all the rights he wants, and I don't really give up anything.

If I were you, I'd get a local lawyer to draw up a standardised contract for this kind of work. It will cost a few hundred bucks, but it can save you a lot of headaches - and ultimately make you a lot of money.

Tish Davidson
04-25-2008, 05:41 AM
If you signed a work for hire agreement then it is theirs to do with what they want without additional compensation to you. tf you did not sign a contract or letter of agreement or work for hire agreement then the material is your and you can negotiate any type of agreement that you want that they will agree to - anything from a flat fee to a percentage of their sales (but make sure there is some provision for auditing the sales figures or you may get done out of what is coming to you.) You may need a lawyer depending on the circumstances. If you are dealing with a company that is set up to pay royalties then you might want to go that way, but if you are dealing with an individual or new, disorganized company, then I would go with a large flat fee on the grounds that money in the bank is better than money you may have to fight over and might not see in the future.

04-25-2008, 06:47 AM
There was the only the ad and them saying to go ahaed with the project. THAT'S all. I have not signed any contracts or anything like one.

The Ad:
I am looking for a preschool teacher that can write a preschool curriculum for homeschooling purposes. If you can do this or write about preschool activities please contact me through this ad.

Thank you for your time, I am looking for serious people who are willing to get the work done is 2 weeks or less, I need to know how you qualify and what your price is.

Then they said "Go ahead with the project." and the email i put in the 1st post. THAT IS EVERYTHING.

So i should be able to negotiate with them??


04-25-2008, 06:53 AM
Did you accept payment?

04-25-2008, 06:58 AM
No I have not accpeted payment yet.
I wanted to sound out the email first.

04-25-2008, 07:13 AM
No I have not accpeted payment yet.

Tell them your initial quote was for personal use only, as indicated in the ad - "for homeschooling", not "for resale" - and if they want resale or public performance (e.g. group teaching) rights you'll need to discuss that separately. That should work out. If there's any dispute at all, however, you really ought to at least consult with a lawyer.

04-25-2008, 07:22 AM
Thanks everyone this is really helpful.


Tish Davidson
04-25-2008, 09:25 PM
Sounds from your correspondence that you were writing on spec, which basically means that they don't have to take the work and you don't have to sell it to them. That leaves negotiations wide open. Before you begin negotiating, you might want to investigate other places you could sell this curriculum in case you can't reach a satisfactory agreement with the original publisher. That will give you some idea how hard you should negotiate and what the curriculum may be worth.

04-25-2008, 09:47 PM
What they all said.