Plagiarism-New Editor-Attribution

Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2013 11:46 am
Assume I am hired by a publisher who owns the copyright on a text to update the text. Assume the publisher tells me that the text has been updated annually for decades and that it is the publisher's practice to change the name of the "author" to the name of the new editor every time a new edition is published, without attribution to the multiple writers who have contributed most of the existing text which I have updated.
So I am being asked to put my name to a published work essentially as the "author" even though the bulk of the material was written by others. I'm not comfortable with this just from a fairness perspective, and I'm going to insist that I be listed as edited by... or updated by... instead of following the publisher's past practice.
But it does raise the legal question of whether the owner of a copyright is free to change the attribution of material without permission of the person who wrote the work? It just "smells bad" to me. Thanks for any insight.
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Jack of Hearts
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2013 01:38 pm
Having the copyrighter's permission - yeah, directive - to edit the work as such, you are probably free from any legal penalties. All previous authors had to agree with a similar arrangement, in order for the copyright holder to attribute the work to another. Insist from the publisher a hand written statement to this effect. He only has the right to copy and/or abridge the work - and not to fully attribute it to another without all previous authors' permission.
That being said, submit your editing without any attribution, do not put you name to it, the publisher knows who is who, let him edit the credits as he will.
Caveat: You cannot contract contrary to law.
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2013 05:24 pm
Thanks Jack.
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