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Insuring Your Risk Management

Posted: June 9, 2009, from the June 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

In her article “Know Your Risk Management,” Sallie Deitz explains why spa owners and skin care professionals need to be conscious of the need for risk management. One risk spa owners may not have thought of is the risk of writing for industry publications and texts. To help protect yourself and your business, Deitz explains the following.

Risk management for writing

Risk management for authors and writers begins with using accepted scholarly conventions when writing articles, books, marketing materials and other documents. Having your work registered as copyrighted material is essential in protecting your work as an author. Legal.com defines a copyright as, “A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of original works of authorship. This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works.” This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Washington State contract and patent attorney Todd Hathaway recommends registering your writing, artwork, video and photos, in addition to the copyright that it is given once it is published, as routine practice for the following three reasons:

  1. Registration increases the perception that there are greater rights to the work.
  2. Registering your work is a prerequisite to filing suit for copyright infringement.
  3. Registering work allows statutory damages to be paid, if you can show an infringement on your work. This may not be true if the work is just copyrighted.

Conversely, if you use another person’s work and do not attribute it to the author—including copying text verbatim, paraphrasing a phrase or summarizing an idea—you are essentially committing plagiarism. Plagiarism usually occurs when a writer fails to:

  • Cite quotes or ideas written by another author,
  • Enclose direct text in quotes, which must be exact text when quoting, and
  • Put summaries or paraphrases in their own words. It is best to rework ideas or concepts in your own language, then cite your sources at the end of the article or book.

To summarize, the author has a right to their intellectual property. This includes copyright, trademark or registered names, logos and other written materials. Plagiarism is illegal, and if it can be proven, the plagiarist may have to pay the copyright owner of the plagiarized works the amount they actually lost because of the infringement, in addition to paying attorney’s fees. This can be extremely expensive on many levels, including risk to a good reputation.