Are Job Descriptions covered by Copyright?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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nickaskew
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Are Job Descriptions covered by Copyright?

Post by nickaskew » Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:33 pm

Hi there,

I run a website which lists job vacancies for people looking to work in wildlife conservation. I keep an eye on employer websites, and share any that look interesting to my audience.

However, I've been a little worried that I might be breaking copyright by doing so. A lawyer friend of mine said: 'I doubt that job descriptions are covered by copyright, becuase they are one of the few documents which are specifically designed to be distributed widely to attract attention and applicants for the vacant roles'.

My question is - are they right?

I'm about to make the job section of my website for paying members only, and I want to be 100% sure I'm not breaking any laws.

Many thanks for any advice you can offer.

Nick

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:24 pm

Hi Nick,
I suspect that what your lawyer friend meant was that the job descriptions almost certainly qualify as literary works and therefore attract copyright, but that the authors (or more precisely, the companies they work for) will have little interest in enforcing their rights, for the reasons you give.
If you think about it, the mere fact that something is "specifically designed to be distributed widely to attract attention" (such as a bestseller by Dan Brown or JK Rowling, maybe?) does not mean there are grounds for thinking no copyright exists in the work.

To be one hundred percent safe, I would recommend seeking permission to requote the descriptions, but if this is too time consuming to be practical, add a prominent disclaimer to your site saying that you are publishing them in good faith but that you will remove anything which infringes copyright, if notified. This is not bombproof, but it certainly should eliminate the chances of serious consequences for you.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

nickaskew
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Post by nickaskew » Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:41 pm

Thank you so much Andy.

I've amended my T&Cs to state:

Vacancy listings (including jobs, courses, events,voluntary opportunities and internships etc.) are shared in good faith to ensure they are distributed widely according to their purpose. We will happily remove any vacancy listings which are deemed to infringe copyright.

And will seek permission where practical.

I think that should be enough in this instance - unless others in this forum feel any different?

Kind regards,

Nick

usmanali7
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Post by usmanali7 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:22 pm

The first thing to appreciate is that with most postcards, the image on them is taken from a photograph, and under the 1911 Copyright Act, photographs were treated differently to other types of copyright work. That is to say photographs were protected for 50 years from when they were taken, whereas the term for other works was for the lifetime of the author plus 50 years. On that basis a photographic postcard from 1925 or earlier should now be out of copyright.
Clearly where the postcard bears an image other than a photograph, working out the current copyright status is more complicated, but if there are no details of the photographer or publisher, then the law treats such works as anonymous, as follows:

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