Legal Question in Intellectual Property in New York

For five years I worked for a weekly newspaper in Buffalo, New York. I wrote hundreds of articles, many of which were reviews and previews of concerts. I quit the company to start a competing business, and now the editor who has taken my place is reprinting pieces that I wrote with his name on them. The first time it happened I confronted him and he said he'd never do it again. Now, a few months later, he's done it again. What, if any, are my legal avenues here?

Asked on 7/23/15, 12:04 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

IF you were an employee of the paper working within the scope of your employment, which is what is seems, then all the IP rights to anything you created while under their employ becomes property of your employer not you. Even if you were independent of them, they would still acquire an implied license to use the work for all its intended purposes. I agree that in that case the moral rights and credit should still belong to you, but that is not actionable in the US save for visual works of art (Visual Rights Act) otherwise there may be common law claims like unfair competition.

If there is any written agreement then that likely controls on the issue. I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

Our firm is now referred by the American Bar Association (see under the New York section):

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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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Answered on 7/23/15, 12:16 pm

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