Re. Editing test on my website

Subject: Re. Editing test on my website
From: Nandini G <nandini111 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 01:57:43 -0700 (PDT)

Bonnie, best wishes for finding someone who values your talents.

I believe that when you are editing, you are creating something of added value that is different from the original. There are no clearcut rules on how many words is fair use (although my editor friend always quotes a figure.) Here's what I found on Stanford's site:

The site says if you have a disclaimer, that may help.

You might like to check with a lawyer if you take small portions of several sites, edit them, and turn that into an education resource where the theme is how to copy-edit, substantive edit, proof, rewrite, and so on, and create an altogether new work which is like an anthology, that is permissible and is not a copyright enfringement. One quick way to change original content is to edit > search > find and change the company name, proper names, the order of sentences and words, and geographical locations. Another way is to quote from books that are now in the public domain and edit them.

One way out of this problem altogether is to make a .pdf copy, lock it, put a link on the site, and send your recruiters the key to open it (I am not sure whether newer programs can open it). Or you can just email the sample. I think you are like me, afraid of doing what big companies like Google do all the time: making millions of copyrighted books available for free.

I am not sure whether the fact that you are making the edits available for free makes any difference. Another point is, when edited the website, you added value to it, and because you created it, it is your copyright also.

If I were you, I would definitely ask for permission in writing to use the test on my website as a sample. If that fails, and I don't get the job, I will write them that they are not entitled to use any part of the edits for their website or documents, and if they do, I will sue them. Most probably, they will oblige and let you publish it on the web. My free advice here, and maybe worse the price.

Currently I am in a bind to write procedeures for free using an active URL that the company uses to get into the line for an interview. Is asking me to spend my own eight hours which I can spend on job-hunting fair? But I am learning from your experience and will ask for permission to put it on my website before sending them the document.

One of my colleague was asked to write a chapter as a test. He then came across a whole manual in which the company had used his chapter verbatim. The other chapters were probably creations of other candidates. So a job seeker is actually more vulnerable than the companies who ask for samples.

Nandini Garud

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