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Q: The legalities of 'private label rights' ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: The legalities of 'private label rights'
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: bman645-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 07 Jul 2006 08:10 PDT
Expires: 06 Aug 2006 08:10 PDT
Question ID: 744106
I am looking into a business venture regarding a 'private label
rights' membership site (a website that people join in order to get
ghostwritten articles that they can legally edit and use any way
they'd like) and I need to know how 'private label rights' relate to
copyright law.

What I need to know is this...
Would it be legally possible to setup a custom contract or 'terms of
service' with the ghostwriters that I hire (as independant
contractors) to aquire FULL rights to all content that they write for
me? And then setup a separate contract with the members that join my
site where they can legally alter the content any way they want
(private label rights), and then post the content on their own

I'm assuming this is how most 'private label rights' membership
websites are run but I don't know for sure. If this is how it works
then who would own the copyright in each step of the process? I would
assume myself, if I aquired full rights from my ghostwriters. But if I
owned it, then how could I legally tell my members that they have a
right to edit and use the content any way they want?

Subject: Re: The legalities of 'private label rights'
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 07 Jul 2006 10:12 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Copyright is a piece of personal property, and as such, is not really
different from owning a book or a car or a painting -- you can
transfer ownership to whoever you please, under pretty much whatever
conditions one chooses, as long as the transaction is legal.

HOWEVER, it is useful when transferring copyright from one owner to
another to have the transfer clearly noted in writing, and perhaps
even registered at the Copyright Office (assuming the initial
copyright is held in the US).

Let's look over some basics, based on guidance from the US Copyright Office:


...Copyright is a personal property right, and it is subject to the
various state laws and regulations that govern the ownership,
inheritance, or transfer of personal property as well as terms of
contracts or conduct of business.

...Transfers of copyright are normally made by contract

...Although recordation is not required to make a valid transfer
between the parties, it does provide certain legal advantages and may
be required to validate the transfer as against third parties. For
information on recordation of transfers and other documents related to
copyright, request Circular 12, "Recordation of Transfers and Other
[Circular 12 is here: ]

Are copyrights transferable?
Yes. Like any other property, all or part of the rights in a work may
be transferred by the owner to another.


In essence, what they are saying here is that whatever transfer
arrangements you make between the original copyright holder, and any
subsequent holders of the copyright, are absolutely fine, but the
arrangements are best done through written agreements.  And, it
doesn't hurt -- and probably helps -- to register the transfer at the
Copypright Office.

So, the answer to your question is can certainly arrange
with the original author to assume ownership of the copyright, and you
could then transfer that copyright to subsequent owners.

However, you may prefer an alternative, which would be to use a
Creative Commons license, rather than a formal transfer.

A license generally grants permission for a user to make use of a
work, even though the original author retains formal copyright
ownership.  Licenses can be as broad or as narrow as the parties to
the license agree to make them.

Creative Commons licenses are finding increasing use on the web as a
way for individuals to post materials which can then be used by others
either verbatim, or with changes.

You can read about Creative Commons options here:
...Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers flexible
copyright licenses for creative works.
Creative Commons Licenses

Probably the best-known example of a Creative Commons site is
Wikipedia, the online encylopedia.  You can read about their licensing
approach here:

...The license Wikipedia uses grants free access to our content in the
same sense as free software is licensed freely. This principle is
known as copyleft. That is to say, Wikipedia content can be copied,
modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same
freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikipedia
article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author
credit requirement). Wikipedia articles therefore will remain free
forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions,
most of which serve to ensure that freedom.

Although Wikipedia requires users of their text to pass along the
license, and to attribute the text back to Wikipedia, this is
certainly not a requirement of a Creative Commons can
structure it however best suits your needs.

I trust the information and explanations above fully answers your question.

However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need.  If there's anything more I can do for you, just post a Request
for Clarification, and I'm happy to assist you further.


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites for copyright and Wikipedia
bman645-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Thankyou! That was a very informative answer. I was not aware of
'Creative Commons' but I think that just might be what I was looking

Subject: Re: The legalities of 'private label rights'
From: danemorgan-ga on 27 Nov 2006 19:38 PST
"you can transfer ownership to whoever you please, under pretty much
whatever conditions one chooses, as long as the transaction is legal."

While this is accurate it is important that you note that "Private
Label Rights" as it refers to most articles, content and ebooks sold
under this kind of licensing does NOT transfer copyright.

Specifically note that SOME sellers will state that you may claim your
own copyright to a work if you have modified it to "a great extent",
most make vauge references to this "great extent", such as "to the
point that non of our other customers would recognize it". Others ask
that you subit your changes to them and they will tell you if you have
altered it enough.

They do not have to do this because legaly you have no right to
copyright another persons already copyright protected material unless
they transfer the copyright to you.

Long story short, copyright is, generally speacking a seperate isue
when dealing with PLR and the sellers generally retain all rights, and
gran you license to republish and modify, but also generally
specifically forbid claiming copyright. This is to protect others who
have bought the work from someone claiming copyright to it, then
attempting to sue all other members who are publishing it.

Long story short, you really need to read and understand the TOS
provided by the seller BEFORE you buy. And if you want to alter and
copyright materials look specifically for those sellers who permit you
to do so.

Dane Morgan
dane -[at]- {removethis} plrmiracle -[dot]- com

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