Media & Technology lawyer, Peter Karcher, takes a look at some key risk areas for Publishers.
Register your mastheads as trade marks. Domain names, Business and company name registrations don’t give you protection for the name as against other traders. Do a search, or get us to do one, before deciding on a new masthead, as the name may not be available.
EMPLOYEE / CONTRIBUTOR AGREEMENTS
While content that an employee creates is generally owned by the employer, content created by a freelance contributor is generally not, unless you agree in writing that it is. If you are sourcing a fair amount of content from external contributors, most publishers develop a standard contributors agreement that deals with fees / payment, ownership of content, usage rights, re-use fees, and liability issues.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR ADVERTISERS
These need to deal with issues including payment, liability for misleading advertising, flexibility to edit ad content and re-position advertising.
DEFAMATION AND LIABILITY ISSUES INCLUDING IN THE ONLINE SPACE, BLOGOSPHERE AND IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Publishers generally deal with defamation issues as they arise, however it is good to have some knowledge of the law in this area so you know how to deal with liability issues quickly and confidently when they arise. Often it is advisable to get some pre-publication advice and clearance where the subject matter is potentially controversial. Particular liability issues arise in the context of forums, chats and blogs where other people are posting on your platform.
LICENSED CONTENT AND COPYRIGHT ISSUES
So that you don’t end up liable for claims of copyright infringement or unpaid licence fees, you should be aware of what copyright protects and the limited exceptions that allow you to use third party copyright material without the owner’s consent.
We have considerable experience in masthead and magazine licensing, both from the perspective of licensor and licensee. There are a few tricks and traps so it’s best to take advice on protecting your interests in a licensed publication arrangement.