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New Media Rights Directors Speak on Protecting Intellectual Property

Art Neill and Shaun Spalding

California Western’s New Media Rights directors are in demand to educate artists and other artistic creators on the importance of protecting their work.

A clinical program of California Western School of Law, this non-profit clinic is a much-accessed resource for legal services, education, and advocacy for internet users and content creators.  It’s services and counsel are in high demand at speaking engagements across the country.

Recently, New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill spoke at a San Diego Press Club meeting held at the Procopio building in downtown San Diego.

The program, “Nuts and Bolts: Intellectual Property—Protecting Yours and Others” discussed a variety of topics including the use of  third-party content online, protecting intellectual property, freelancers’ rights related to unauthorized republishing of their work, and journalists’ and media outlets’ responsibilities regarding work sourced from third parties.

Joining Neill on the panel were Procopio’s Lisel Ferguson, Barry Soalt, and Patrick Ross. The room was filled with writers and publishers keen to understand how to protect themselves in terms of copyright and contracts.

“As a publisher, you want to make sure that your relationship with a writer reflects what you actually want,” says Neill. “The writers on the other side may want to retain some ownership rights.”

These kinds of panels are essential as they fill knowledge gaps in the often-confusing area of intellectual property.

“I think these panels are extremely necessary and you know every time we go it’s almost inevitable that it will lead to another talk,” says Neill.

Earlier in the month, New Media Rights Assistant Director Shaun Spalding spoke at the NLGJA 2018 National Convention in Palm Springs.

Spalding spoke about freelance writer contracts, negotiating effective deal terms and how freelance writers can protect their rights.

Spalding covered the major points of negotiation of freelance contracts and the implications of signing them to ensure a writer can still do all the things that he or she wants to do with the article written.

“I think that the concept of copyright, in general, is pretty hard to understand,” says Spalding. “Take the difference between an idea and the expression of an idea—one is copyright protected and the other is not. To many it seems like a logic test rather than something that you could truly explain.”

New Media Rights (NMR) is a nonprofit, independently funded program of California Western School of Law based in San Diego, California. NMR provides legal services, educational resources, and public policy advocacy for creators, entrepreneurs, and internet users.