7 years isn't enough

Published: Wed, 01/05/22

From the friendly caves of Pixie Hollow.

If you believe that retaining records and notes for 7 years is sufficient, you're wrong.

Creative material - that is, anything with IP attached to it - must, in Australia, be retained for:
The Copyright provisions are particularly interesting in Australia because there's no need to register a copyright.

Copyright exists from the moment of creation.

It covers anything 'copyable'. This is why ideas are not covered by the copyright law. It's also why your personal story is not covered by copyright law.

It's important that you, as a creator in business (or personal life, come to that) understand the differences between copyright and moral rights, too. 

Copyright covers anything copyable: Artefacts. Moral rights are the right to be identified as an author of a work.

This is where agreements with ghostwriters differ from agreements with copywriters.

A copywriter will be briefed to write material for you. A ghostwriter writes as you.

So when it comes to legal agreements, expect to discuss both copyright and moral rights.

A ghostwriter will waive their moral rights, so that you can identify yourself as the author. Moral rights cannot be assigned: They are as attached to you as is your skin! But a ghostwriter worth his or her salt will never sign over copyright to you, because they are the creator: Not you.

This even applies when you're working with someone to write your life story. Your life story is an intangible, a memory, an 'idea'. The artefact is what the ghostwriter creates.

If a ghostwriter signed over all of the copyrights to you, they'd be seriously doing themselves out of potential future business.

So why wouldn't you jointly own it? I hear you ask.

Here's why:

Because it's a pain in the a55.

Imagine if you jointly own a car with your neighbour. You have to negotiate who is going to refuel it, clean it, use it. If you service it, you have to split the bills. If you rent it out to someone, you have to split the income. Tracking expenditure and income becomes a behemoth of a task, and the negotiation required is immense. It's far better for one person to own the car, and then to negotiate occasional use.

It's the same with copyright:

If you jointly own copyright, then you have to negotiate everything! You have to track income, royalties, expenditure such as marketing, touring, promotions, reprinting, etc. You have to be sharp as a tack on both sides of the coin in terms of tracking income and royalties, and then honest with each other about who earned what, and then split all incomings with each other. If there is a request for a new form (a film, a game, a play...), then that becomes a dual negotiation...

It's exhausting just thinking about it, isn't it.

Anyway, I'm getting slightly off track. My POINT today is that there is a whole lot of legal mumbojumbo that you have to know about engaging creators.

Copyright and moral rights are important.

But records retention related to these is even more important.

The ONE thing you must do today is ask yourself the question:

How well prepared am I (or are we if you're at the helm of a business) to retain creative materials for 70 years past the life of the creator? If the 'creator' is the business entity, such as a company, make sure that your archives are extraordinary. While you may never pursue a breach, it's better to know that you could pursue a breach conclusively than to be unable to prove that the material is yours.

I know all of this because I'm a professional ghostwriter and I've done the work with my own legal eagles to understand the territory. It's crazy territory, even for a highly experienced IP lawyer, I have to say. (Which I am not.  LOL)

And I'm telling you because you might want me to ghostwrite your book with you, and throw in three months' of blogs as a bonus.

The project itself is 10-12 months together. It's $24,000 in total.

I've got availability for just four of them this year, the next one beginning in February. If you'd like one of the spaces (February, May, August, October), all you have to do is reply to this email with your expression of interest and we can start chatting.

But heads up: I may not work with you. That's why you can't just mosey on up to a URL and click 'buy now'. There are a lot of time-wasters who think they've got a project they're excited about, when in fact they are never going to get moving on it. And if you're going to drag your heels for three months making up your mind, then you're one of them.

This is why I've got to be someone you'll love, rather than hate. Ghostwriting is an intimate thing! 

It is a big decision, writing a book. It's even bigger when you write with someone else. So if there's even the slightest possibility, let's get cracking and have a chat.

If there's one thing I would love more than anything else, it's seeing you on LinkedIn gloriously proclaiming to the world that your book is about to launch. What a feeling, eh?

xx Leticia "if you can't explain it, you don't know it" Mooney

Please let me know what I can do for you.

Leticia Mooney has spent her life handling words and communications while showing others 'the way'. She is a journalist and ghostwriter with decades of experience writing with and for individuals and brands. She dedicates her life to 'showing others the Way', which is in both a metaphorical and a literal sense. Leticia has mentored and edited tens of writers (from PhD candidates to highly successful freelancers and authors); consults to businesses in a range of areas from communications to investigations; and reads Tarot (having been trained by the remarkable Lore de Angeles). She's also the mother of a rambunctious, engaging, and curious boy, who is named after a character created by J.R.R Tolkien. You can learn more about her at https://leticiamooney.com, and her business at https://brutalpixie.com.

Leticia Mooney
PO Box 1190
Pasadena SA 5042
Phone/Text (Signal/Telegram) +61 421 925 382
Follow on Telegram at https://t.me/leticiamooney