Thursday, March 03, 2005

Think twice before you rewrite that lead

Thanks to Australian Paul Wiggins, at Testy Copy Editors, I found this article about rewriting bad copy. A note before you read: Australians and Britons use "sub editor" instead of "copy editor."

The author writes about complaints against Paul Armstrong, the editor of the West Australian:
Michael Sinclair-Jones, WA branch secretary of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, tells of concerns that "Armstrong is a person who likes to change copy without telling his reporters and against advice, and will combine stories in a way authors find offensive."
Sinclair-Jones goes on to note that Australian copyright law gives authors a moral copyright and that reporters can sue if their work is changed too much.
"Section 195AR of the [Copyright] Act says moral rights are infringed if work attributed to one person is altered without consent by another, 'unless it was reasonable in all circumstances not to identify the author'.

"If significant changes are made to the content or context of your work, you have a legal right to be consulted and a right, if necessary, to require your byline be removed.


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