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My Blog's Copyrights: Mine or WordPress'?

  1. Do the copyrights to my posts on my WordPress blog belong to me, to WordPress, or to Automattic? For example, would I be able to legally compile all my posts into a book to sell?

  2. You hold the copyright to anything you create.

  3. Yes, you can compile your blog into a book and sell it. The copyright attaches to the words, not the medium.

  4. If J.K.Rowling had written all of Harry Potter on a blog here we could not claim a penny even if we wanted - which we would not of course.

    It's all yours as has been said.

  5. That's one reason I went with their great copyright policy. :)

  6. thelifeofmarkwhitecotton

    I only went to WordPress cuz the staff's cuter :P I'm shallow like that :P

  7. oooh that is very good to know, glad I picked the right site...but seriously is there a photogallery of this "cute staff"? (what?...who said that?...)

  8. thelifeofmarkwhitecotton

    romi, I was kinda sortta pulling that outta my I've never seen pics of any of them! LOL Just playing the role of a jokester this long weekend, keeping things light. They may be, for all I know :P

  9. Hahaha...well I can hope ;-)

  10. Hey, I've met some of the staff, and they are in fact cute. But they're also pretty much all spoken for.

    You can try the galleries at though.

  11. Spoken for???!


  12. Hi there!

    Actually, WordPress does share a 'limited' copyright.

    If you are the author, and you publish a book via a publisher, the publisher which involves in the work being produced has a limited rights, although it cannot claim the works to be its own nor necessarily get the rewards.

    In publishing your articles with newspaper, it's like offering the newspaper a certain limited copyright to own the article, and be reproduced in future.

    That is, in traditional media, when you send Queen Diana's photo (maybe to expose something) which you have shot to be published, you can't later claim rewards via copyright from the magazine if the magazine sells a billion dollars because of this and you want a share of it.

    But this is seldom noticed. But Mark is right, he can't get anything if JK Rowlings posted Harry Potters in WordPress. But, WordPress can reproduce them (eg) in their promoting page or on newspapers alongside with WordPress news (Eg. "Want to read Harry Potter? WordPress got it!". Yeah, it's not Mark who wrote it, but it's WordPress' privilege.).

    Again, check with your lawyers. ;)


  13. scopettg, there is no "shared" copyright. What you're describing is a license, which is a separate thing.

    When you sign up for a blog and accept the terms of service, you give us permission (a license) to put your stuff on the web. You own the copyright, we don't. Same goes for a newspaper - unless your contract with the paper says otherwise, you still own the copyright on your work, they just have permission to use it.

    Any serious blogger should read the following articles. They describe your obligations when copying someone else's work; the same rules apply to anyone else who copies your work. The information there should trump any advice posted on forums.

  14. BTW there's a staff photo gallery of sorts here:

  15. Hi Tellyworth!

    I am just using a layman's way of getting people to understand why their articles may find themselves elsewhere by the host. Copyright, whether transfered by contract or what, is a shared concern.

    Which is actually a very contentious point between the public, even in Asia where the copyrights situation is pretty lax.

    As we all know, the recent why our articles got hosted with WordPress is because we 'contributed' by posting to WordPress. There was this situation that a letter from Mr X is being sent to a publisher to be published, the letter belonged to X, but the article of which the contents of the letter could be used for even sales purposes is of the publisher.

    Let's push the 'assertions or wishes' for discussion sake: If WordPress decides to publish a book that contains selected articles of its bloggers, do you think it cannot?

    Now many people would claim that WordPress steals copyright. But if Jk Rowling posted a comment, and that comment is of the content of her entire Harry Potter, one can deem that she has 'contributed' her book via comments. In emailing, people email articles or letters to me. Those are my emails. I can do anything with them, unless stated otherwise.

    Which is why... it's very contentious. What if Jk Rowlings decides to email me her Harry Potter story? I can sell this email of Mine, though I cannot claim I wrote the stories. I am selling only an email of mine, given to me from someone else. But naturally, 'it coincides' with the content of Harry Potter. Lol.

    This is the funny issue about copyright, because copyright exists to protect the interest of the producer. But, when the producer offered to others the product ignorantly... it can be 'transfered' or 'shared' in a sense. And that's the precise problem when people make noise.

    When you post in a forum, the admin can even delete (or manage) your 'copyright' messages, or even stories, or to publish a book for the forum of such messages. Some call this 'shared copyright'. Which is... if you cherish your production, do not disclose them.

    Say, X forum published its book with 30-feb-3000 messages catalogue or what, and Jk Rowlings actually posted her story in, and it's about anti-China story. Now...In USA, people buys the book, in China, X forum might be liable in China. What about Jk Rowling?

    X forum is liable because he is liable on the JK Rowlings contents. X forum will be perceived as the 'shared' copyright party to be liable for that contents. LL.

    The problem is that when people see how contents can make money when others sold them, they want to claim back the property (actually the $$$).

    Tellyworth, I am just discussing the issues, not debating. The use of contents and who can do so, is very much hence... interesting. Now, Googles have many many pics, by search engines, we can't say that those are my copyrights when you are opening all the options to encourage botx (not you signing any contract with Googles to do so, because other China search engines or India ones can also come) to seek them out, and you know Googles is making money on such contents by displaying them for searchers.

    Of cos, I am not saying Sblogs are legally doing so. I am just hoping to raise awareness. many state-owned newspapers don't even need a contract for your copyrights usage, because there is a part in copyright that the right of use by the state in certain situation is always given. And state-owned newspapers are sometimes part of the government in such 'situation'.

    Of course, I may not be right. :)


  16. Just a quick addendum. According to (which only covers the US), your work is copyright protected the moment you create it and it is exposed to others. Although if you ever publish it and someone copies you, and you wish to sue them, you will have to register with the US Copyright office.

  17. How much does being a ping-pong specialist pay? I may consider a change of career.

    @davidma22: that law applies to all blogs. Most countries in the world are signatories to the treaty which makes that stipulation as well. So it's the same in Canada, the UK, even China (although not many people know that).

  18. thelifeofmarkwhitecotton

    Raincoaster, you're from Canada; and should be an Air Hockey Afficianado (if hired by wordpress).

  19. I'm pretty hot at Air Hockey, actually. But if they hired me they'd have to take responsibility for some of the crap I lay down on people in the forums, and I don't think they want to do that.

  20. singularcontiguity

    The US Code Title 17 text is available from Cornell University's law school at

    They also have the text of the Berne Convention, which governs international copyright law for a large number of countries, available at Another major international agreement covering international copyright is the World Trade Organization's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, available at

  21. scott, I'm not sure how much of that applies here or is correct (or even what some of it means).

    For the most part, in most situations, there is no "transfer of copyright" when something is published, contract or otherwise. Copyright stays with the author/creator unless it is very explicitly signed over to someone else. Giving someone (or a blog service or a newspaper) permission to publish something is not the same as giving them copyright or sharing copyright. Copyright is only shared when there are two or more authors.

    The only situation most people are likely to encounter where copyright on their work is transferred to someone else is an employment contract, which will normally give copyright to the employer.

    There's a good summary of copyright ownership here:

    While some details are US-specific, copyright laws are fairly uniform across most countries. The general stuff about who owns copyright applies pretty much everywhere.

    Of course, copyright only determines who owns the legal right to stuff. Lots of people ignore the rules, and enforcing them is difficult and can be expensive.

  22. Hi DavidMa22!

    Yes. The moment it is created is yours. It applies generally.

    But then and again, many lawyers would tell you this, unless it is distinctively so, many people can claim two (similar) pieces of work are their 'originals'. This happened apparently in trademarks and logos.

    I doubt you really need to register (eg) your design, copies of stories and such with USA copyright to sue. This is more like formality because if you can prove that you own the production and the other is not on fair use, the court shalt take this is as an offence.

    But patent and such must, because there must be an 'examination' of whether it is really an invention based on originality.

    And one thing about international laws... which I have to say but I never really mentioned, is that... The amount of grey area is so large that, say, if I ask Scope to rely on it is like someone trying to convince him USA is going to stick to UN charters. Lol.

    Many countries signed the Berne convention, but... it's like Human Rights, in real, everyone's version of human rights is mostly his or her rights. Lol.

    My suggestion is very simple. If the community wants hassle free 'justice', especially online, all of us must respect WordPress rules, and we respect each others and communicate like friends respecting each others' rights and appreciating others. You see, people... If some of us think he or she is more powerful or higher class or richer and his or her voice must be louder, we'd have a problem.

    And WordPress of course must exercise wise and reasonable judgement and response.

    We are all bloggers. :)


  23. Hi Tellyworth!

    I totally agree with you. By the nature of blogging, it's very difficult and expensive, hence irrational to rely on lawyers (who for one will never have a global online laws to stick to).

    But this is a real issue I have brought up. In which WordPress's activities is similar to a event organiser who doesn't perform the singing, which however can record the event (hence the singer and the song) it hosted. So can the audience! Unless specifically stated you can't.

    As I have mentioned search engines, and the world doesn't have only Googles. And i doubt WordPress have relations with every search engines companies in the world, hence we can't have our copyrights in contract terms with all the search engines. The reason why I brought this up is obviously to explain this concept about 'shared copyright', and why people could have ignorantly 'transferred' their rights to others.

    Again, if JK Rowlings write a new Harry Potter series and email me for whatever reason. The world, upon I sold that email of mine, will recognise me as the source of the story, written by JK Rowling. And if I sell the email of mine, the money goes entirely to me. It's the same as via comments or forums or even blogs where 'email' technology realise the capability of posting function.

    When the world knows the story first from me, it becomes a 'transfer' of copyright unless JK Rowlings have proof she is the originator. Yes, this is not righteous, but it can be done. So this is why I bring you case this awareness. If you have any serious works, songs and such... think twice before you bring it public.

    Transfering via contract is that, as any asset transfer, specifically terminates the rights of claim of the producer. Example: For some reason, Mark decides to 'donate' WordPress to Tellyworth. WordPress is in a way a copyright. In such contract, Mark shall never exercise his rights or claims over WordPress, just as the transfer of coys or assets to another.

    In copyright, most of the time, the transfer is 'shared'. Which means, JK Rowling ignorantly post her entire story to WordPress who shall have 'three copies in three servers', and when such contribution is made, WordPress (a business entity) published (eg) a book to promote itself and the book has selected postings, which happens to have JK Rowlings' work. And I have brought out. Legally speaking, if the work is anti-Brazil or USA (we assume anti-Brazil here), JK Rowling won't be liable, but WordPress would be for the contents if the book is sold in Brazil.

    It's also the same that if China decides that some Falun Gung people posted anti China stories, China will not only think that the copyright ONLY belongs to those Falun Gungs. Do you think China will not take action and presure USA to take action or claims from WordPress?

    My view is like this because WordPress is a global happening. We cannot based WordPress on USA laws for the contents hosted. It is the same even if the poster and the host are both from USA. In this case, if we go By Right again, it's like two New Yorkers alongside with other nationalities smoke in Open Seas when New York specifically outlaws smoking. Can we say the boat is USA registered, the two jokers are USA citizens, hence their action (smoking) is illegal?

    By Right, we can't. Which is why we have international laws in the first place for international activities, now international would includ the cyberspace. And 'there is really no laws yet'! Lol.

    I suppose this discussion should end here for this thread. But WordPress will doubtlessly encounter these sorts of global issues as it grows significant. And I hope this'd help. ;)

    I got to run for a show. Enjoy!


  24. See! I told you they were cute!

  25. Thanks for the responses. I'm loving WordPress right now.

  26. There is a more serious... yet funny issue related to this coming. A Singapore company Vuestar (or what) is claiming 'patent' over click pictures go to sites, must pay money...

    Now, how is WordPress going to pay? Wondering. Anyone knows this issue? Sounds like it's going to go after even gigantic Microsoft~!

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