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Topic: What would you do? Overzealous Student

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Subject: What would you do? Overzealous Student
Date Posted: 1/15/2008 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 3,042
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The first week after my workshop started received an e-mail from a student about a blog he had created. The blog contains 99.9% of the info I used as handouts, exercises and resources. This workshop is a work in progress for me and I wasn't ready to have it published --not even sure I was ready to use privately for students.

I asked him to remove any reference to me and my e-mail, which he did. I wrote back that I considered what I'm doing a 'prototype' and not ready to publish in a blog. He wrote back if I didn't want to use the blog he'd keep updating it for his own use.

I have 7 more sessions with this student and now I'm getting nervous. Have done a ton of research and now I'm not pleased about it being published on-line and having it look like he did the work. I think he's enthusiastic about the topic -- not convinced (yet) he's taking advantage of my effort.

Getting ready for the 2nd session I'm getting apprehensive. I've been doing a ton of research and not getting paid for this first workshop. Have a very good chance of doing this workshop two other places next month. There's lots of opportunity here for me to do what I like -- mentor and write!

This is new territory for me -- ever been in this situation? Really not sure how to handle this situation -- not ready to burn bridges -- especially my own!

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 9:43 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 4,865
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I've never been in the same situation Shirley, but he can't legally use your work as his (unless you sold it to him), and he can't use your work on his blog without your permission.  It's a copyright issue. 

If you're working for yourself, all the material you've written up is yours, and you have a right to ask him to either pay you for it's use, give you a byline, or remove it from his blog.

If you're working for someone else (depending upon the arrangement), what you created for the workshop may belong to your employer, and they need to insist upon the same from him.

Either way, I would strongly suggest that you not allow someone else to use, and potentially profit by, your work.

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 3,042
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Thanks for your comments Lynn.

My intuition warned me to the first night in class that my information was for personal use only -- and didn't. I was excited to get everyone involved in their writing.  When will I learn to not ignore than tiny voice in my head???

This person has a journalism degree --and should know better. Definitely there are boundary issues!

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 4,865
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Good luck Shirley.  I'm sure we'd be interested in knowing how it all turns out--so let us know if you get the chance.

Date Posted: 1/18/2008 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 3,042
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Sent him a tactful e-mail explaining my frustration that my research was posted on a blog I didn't endorse or create. Told him I didn't care if he created a memoir blog as long it contained information he found -- not anything I did.

Explained because my materials became the backbone of his blog, I half-heartedly researched the next session  knowing my material would be blogged w/o my consent. Did suggest because I was losing enthusiasm to continue that perhaps he should lead the workshop--not me.

Asked him to delete my information off the blog -- that this situation was stifling my creativity -- which it was!

Pretty much gave him lots of ways to save face. He did apologize -- admitted being overly-enthusiastic, that he goofed not getting permission, that if I was upset enough he'd not return, and he did delete the blog and agreed not to use any of my materials without my consent.

Next session is on Tuesday and so glad this situation is resolved.

Date Posted: 1/21/2008 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 4,865
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Sounds like it went well Shirley.  Thanks for letting us know.