My Name is Jonathan Bailey, Let’s Talk Law

Jonathan Bailey PhotoHello. My name is Jonathan Bailey. As Susan warned earlier this week, I am the new guy here and I wanted to take a moment to both introduce myself and my new column here. I also want to invite you to send me your ideas and questions to help get this column rolling.

So, without any further ado, here’s a little bit of information about me, what my column here is about and how you can help pick the topics that get discussed.

About Me

As a blogger I am best known for my site Plagiarism Today where I blog about copyright and plagiarism issues aimed at bloggers and other small content creators, including freelance writers. I currently work as a copyright and plagiarism consultant, running the small firm CopyByte and also write for various sites including BloggingPro, WhoIsHostingThis and BloggingTips currently. In the past, I’ve also written for The Blog Herald, The European Journalism Centre and several other sites.

I have a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, where I took a strong interest in mass media law and ethics. Prior to my current blogs, I was primarily a poet and short story author focusing exclusively on creative writing. However, my creative and education backgrounds collided in 2001 when I first discovered that my writing was being widely plagiarized by various people on the Web. I began working to get the cases resolved and, all totaled, have handled some 700 cases of plagiarism involving my content alone.

It was out of this experience I started Plagiarism Today almost five years ago to the day in August 2005. As a New Orleanian, this turned out to be almost “perfect” timing as the site launched mere weeks before Hurricane Katrina. However, if there was a silver lining to the disaster, it was that I threw myself into the site and focused on it completely for the weeks following the storm as I had little else to do and it helped keep me sane during a very trying time.

Since then I have helped hundreds of content creators protect their works on the Web, understand copyright law and either enforce their rights or stay out of trouble when running their sites.

About This Column

Here at FWJ, what I want to do is continue the work I’ve been doing at Plagiarism Today and elsewhere in helping content creators navigate the often murky waters of copyright and other relevant laws. Every week on Friday I’ll be talking about copyright, trademark, privacy and other legal issues that affect freelance writers everywhere.

To be clear, I am not a lawyer and nothing in this or any of my columns should be taken as legal advice. Also, bear in mind that, as a U.S. resident, my knowledge is heavily focused on U.S. law, even though I often do research on the rules in different countries as necessary.

Obviously with my background, this column is going to have a heavy focus on plagiarism and copyright issues, but I also want to talk about other areas of the law that impact freelance writers and to help me decide which issues to cover, I’d like your input on what topics you’d like to see covered.

The Topics You Want

If you have a question about the law and freelance writing, leave a comment below or contact me directly if you want to keep it private. Though my specialty is in copyright, I’ve also dealt with trademark, contract, privacy, libel and other issues as well. If I don’t know the answer, I will work to find out.

I want to make this column as useful as I can for freelance writers everywhere and hopefully help clear up much of the confusion and misinformation that surrounds the law in the digital age.

On that note, I look forward to reading your suggestions and questions for the column and, equally importantly, I’m excited about this new column and the chance to reach out to a new group of creatives and help them make at least some sense of this mad, mad world we all live and work in online.


5 responses
  1. Susan Gunelius Avatar

    Welcome, Jonathan! I can’t wait to read your posts!

  2. David G. Mitchell Avatar

    Jonathan ~ It is good to see you here. I think you are now present on just about every site that I frequent other than!

  3. scarlet05 Avatar

    Hi Jonathan, and welcome to the website. I had a question I would like to ask. It concerns the subject of copyright and non-paying buyers.

    It seems that this has been an ongoing issue for some freelance writers in many of the freelancing forums. My question is, If a freelance writer completes work and the client takes off without paying, is there anything freelancers can do to prevent non-paying buyers from using their work and publishing it? And are there any laws that protect freelancers from falling victim to such a scam?

    Thanks in advance

  4. Ajeva Avatar

    I have a question which confuses me when it comes to copyright laws. There is this part I’ve read that people can share your content so long as the intention is to educate. That’s why you see plenty of people posting videos they’ve ripped somewhere at YouTube, while giving attribution to the original source and they put something like they are sharing it for the sake of ‘knowledge’ and I wonder if this is ethical? Then, there are those blogs that copy the entire post you wrote, verbatim, with a credit to your original post ( like, Source: xxx ). Many get away with it for the mere fact that credit was given or cited. I wonder if this practice is right too. I’ll be happy for some enlightenment. Thanks!

  5. Jonathan Bailey Avatar

    Thank you everyone for your great suggestions and feedback. I can tell I am going to be VERY busy with this column and will be back Friday with the first edition!

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