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Intellectual Property Rights

Discussion in 'Independent Contractors & Consultants' started by Laura O Nagel, Mar 6, 2020.

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  1. Laura O Nagel

    Laura O Nagel Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Texas
    I am a former Director and most recently an unpaid volunteer with the title of Program Director for a nonprofit organization in TX. I wrote a grant application on behalf of the nonprofit which was not funded. The grant application was to write a book about a 10-year project of the organization, in which I was involved and which is now completed. I have since resigned my position. My question is whether I may now write up the book and self-publish it? Is this my intellectual property? Or, do I need to get their approval?
     
  2. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    If you write the book it is your intellectual property and you can publish it if you want. However, if there is any non-disclosure agreement with the non-profit, then you should run it by an attorney before doing so.
     
  3. Laura O Nagel

    Laura O Nagel Law Topic Starter New Member

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    No, there is not a non-disclosure agreement. Thank you so much!
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    A big issue is that a lot of the stuff that goes into your book may be the intellectual property of the organization so you'll need permission and cooperation of the organization anyway. Without it, your book may be only a few pages.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  5. Laura O Nagel

    Laura O Nagel Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I don't think the book will contain any information about the organization except on a broad basis that is widely available to the public now. If we limit ourselves to this type of information, for example, what's on their website, could we perhaps avoid this problem?
     
  6. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    was an outline or other parts of the "book" put into the grant as samples? did other employees work on the grant or were you the sole grantwriter?

    Is there something stopping you from getting permission from the current director or from the board of directors? Are you planning on giving any of the profit back to the NFP? I suspect if you were to do so, they'd be more likely to approve, but they may want to be able to review/approve before publication.
     
  7. Laura O Nagel

    Laura O Nagel Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I and another former employee, also most recently a volunteer, were the primary grant writers. The grant did not include any excerpts, just an overview of the book. We both recently resigned from the organization for several reasons some of which were that they did not consider going forward with this project or looking for alternate sources of funding. We parted amicably enough, but I do not want to go back and ask for their approval if I can avoid it. What we are planning to do is to ask the past president of the board to write a Forward to the book after it's written but not to give the board and director the power to deny us permission to write it. By asking, are we not granting them that authority?
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Possibly, but play it safe, discuss the matter with your attorney before you get too far along with your project.

    Generally speaking, think of your efforts as telling YOUR story.

    If you use that as a guideline, you'll likely be okay, as long as you seek and receive REAL legal advice.

    What you should obtain before you proceed is a legal opinion on the matter written by your attorney.
     
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  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You don't need permission to write it. You don't need permission to publish it. What you need permission for is to avoid an expensive lawsuit that could drive you into the poor house if the organization believes that you infringed.

    Getting sued, even if you are right, could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to defend. And if you lose you could lose every penny that you make on the book and then some.

    I have to be blunt here. Hardly a week goes by that we (and other sites) don't get questions from people who want to use the intellectual property of others by doing an end run around consent.

    My advice: Don't write the book without written consent.
     
    hrforme likes this.

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