This Question Is for All of You Content Writers Out There

In conversations with a few people and due to recent events, I’m interested to know what most company policies are on what they do with content published by an employee after that employee is no longer with the company. For example, let’s say an employee published one to two hundred articles of documentation or posts for the company’s blog. I would hope that the company keeps the author’s name intact and does not remove them or their work from existence.

But, what stops a company or even a website with guest blog posts from changing the author and taking credit for someone else’s work? It’s wrong and unethical, but over the years, it has happened in the WordPress ecosystem. As an employee, do you or have you added or negotiated what happens to the content you published after you leave? I wonder if companies have a clause that says all content published on the site, including its documentation, is the property of the company. I imagine that’s pretty common.

What about recourse? What can someone do against a website or business that essentially steals your work and claims it as their own? I have to say, I’m thankful that my author page still exists on WP Tavern as having that removed and the content changed to an Unknown author would be a huge bummer. Actually, I’d be pretty upset. Please feel free to reach out and either send me examples or explain what your company does in the comments.

5 thoughts on “This Question Is for All of You Content Writers Out There”

  1. When you write for a company and they pay you…..the content belongs to the company.

    I run a news site. I don’t change the author. The staff level of authors, which means they write every day/week/etc…when they leave, their account changes to subscriber user role.
    The authors who are one time or not steady…their user roles go back to subscriber after the article is written.

    But all articles belong to the news site. There is a clause in the contracts/documentation. Many times the photographs on the articles are done by someone else. No matter if it’s a separate person doing the photographs on the article or the actual author of the article, the photographs belong to the new site (exclusive rights).

    I am paying you for the content. All authors get paid from my personal account, the news site does not have it’s own paypal, patreon or whatever else.

  2. I’ve had a couple of instances where my name was removed after the fact. One was a particularly popular post – I wasn’t too thrilled!

  3. Interesting thoughts. I have noticed that ghost writing costs more than name and a credit — but that’s freelance work, not an employee. I just bought a website and made a new admin account for myself while downgrading the previous owner to an author in order to keep their name on the article bios, noting them as founder. But when losing an employee an owner might just delete the user’s account altogether without thought.

    I wonder, some employees might not want their name attached to a company they are no longer a part of? I have usually removed my name and company details from content on a website before handing over to a new owner, just in case the new owner goes down the wrong trail. In the case of Pro Plugin Directory, the posts show my name but with the new owner’s photo. So, there I am looking like a guy who wears a tie! Good for a chuckle. 🙂

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