You May Only Share What Belongs to You

I need to bring up a somewhat uncomfortable topic and that is intellectual property.

It’s been brought to my attention that there are people sharing the contracts they’ve purchased from me and the ACA Success Store with others and that is a HUGE no-no.

Those products are my intellectual property. Your license to use them extends only to your business with your own clients.

Outside of that, you do not have any legal right to share them with colleagues, and you will get yourself into real legal hot water if you do.

If you come across posts on listservs and forums where people are asking others to share their contracts, you would be doing the members and the list/forum owner a favor by letting them know that the contracts they are sharing may be someone else’s intellectual property and they could be opening themselves up to legal liability by sharing them.

It’s not ethical and could cost them a pretty penny legally defending themselves. They can also potentially have their assets and bank accounts frozen by Court-ordered injunction if they are found to have misused someone else’s intellectual property in this manner.

It’s a very, very bad idea and list owners (if only out of self-preservation) should discourage those kind of conversations as they can be held liable as well. You do not want to be dragged into costly legal proceedings, especially if you are not the one doing the sharing, so it’s best not to promote or faciliate those conversations.

I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you can only be helpful with things that belong to you. My contracts and other products do not belong to you. They are strictly for your own personal use in your own business.

There is an alternative though, one that will allow you to be helpful AND earn you money at the same time.

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5 Responses

  1. Conchata Wells says:

    Speak it girl! YOU tell ’em.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I’ve noticed contract swapsies on groups such as linked in. I think they are bad idea not only because of IP, but if I get an American contract and use it in Australia, well that’s silly, it’s very hokey and unprofessional, and I will end up looking like a dingbat. Besides, if you cobble something together from different sources without a lawyer at least looking at it, who knows what you’ve got.

  3. Delita says:

    Danielle,

    I feel that since I have to budget to purchase the contracts, then anyone else who wants them needs to budget also to get their own. As Conchata said, YOU tell ’em.

  4. Monica says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems with people sharing your contracts. Yet another example of people wanting things for free that they haven’t earned or purchased.

    Stick to your guns and make each and every list owner you find your work on take it down!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I like Delita’s comment – we’re all in business and we all must buckle down and go through the ropes so, if I can budget for my products including classes and coaching I think you should to, not to mention (as Danielle always says) it’s bad business to just keep giving stuff up for free all this on top of legal ramifications should turn anyone in their right mind off the trading intellectual property that clearly states (in a highlighted paragraph) that you may NOT share!

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