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Tuesday 13 September 2005

Email Newsletters and Copyright

The company I work for, VATease, distributes a monthly newsletter about VAT issues and developments. We use it as a marketing tool to keep our name and services in the minds of potential clients who may not need to use us on a regular basis.

Nearly 2 years ago this newsletter was plagiarised by a website design company without proper attribution. Part of our response was to place a copyright notice on the newsletter, which we had failed to do before that date. However, I had failed to realise that copyrighting the letter without making any further statement could stunt the usefulness of the newsletter.

Clearly we want our newsletter to be seen by as many people as possible, provided it is clearly attributed to us. It is already re-published by 2 taxation websites. So we would wish the recipients of the newsletter to be free to distribute it further, in whatever format. However, with a standard copyright this would be illegal as an investment company found out recently.

We have therefore amended the wording on the copyright notice to the following:

© Copyright 2005 VATease Ltd. VATease actively encourages
you to copy, distribute and display this newsletter for both commercial and non-commercial
purposes. However, it must be clearly attributed to VATease Ltd and must not be altered,
transformed, or built upon (including this paragraph) without the express permission of VATease.

If you distribute a newsletter by email or any other method that you would like to see distributed further but don't want plagiarised you might like to use something similar.

September 13, 2005 1:35 PM | Work


It sounds like Creative Commons licensing would be directly relevant to this issue. I believe CC Licences are legal in the UK now, though you'd better check, obviously!

I certainly referred to the CC website when drawing up an appropriate wording. However I wanted the wording to be even less formal that CC's standard wording.

I haven't gone as far as checking the status of CC licences in the UK but may do so now you mention it.

CC is the best way to go and I think it is ok in the UK.

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