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Marcus Parker
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I contracted a consultant in 2004 to help train my

Customer Question

I contracted a consultant in 2004 to help train my employees on being more effective at their job. This individual ran a similar business, and supplied training manuals that he created prior to our training session. He made copies, and I have been using them for the past 4 years to train employees. I am making a kit that I plan to solicit to the public, and would like to put roughly 30 pages of the training manual he provided to us in the kit. These pages have been modified over a period of time, but the content and structure are consistent with his writing. Do I violate any copyright laws by using this material. Although he didn't express to me that I could solicit this material, he encouraged me to provide it and use it commercially for my business.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Marcus Parker replied 6 years ago.

I am not sure what exacty you mean when you write that "he didn't express to me that I could solicit this material."

I believe that although he may have given you permission to use these materials to train your employees, for you to market them to the public would indeed violate his copyright.

Marcus Parker, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 460
Experience: Experienced in corporations, LLC, partnerships, etc., formation and operation
Marcus Parker and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
By 'soliciting his material,' I mean he did not give me permission to use it to sell, but I am not sure if I require it. When he gave it to me, he told me I should use it to learn more about the business and train my employees. During the consultation, which consisted of 1 day with myself, and 2 days with him instructing our staff. I videotaped the instruction, which was basically him reading the manual he provided to us. After his training, he gave me the manual and told me to make copies so that I could give one to each of my employees and use it as a training manual for new employees coming in.

A more specific question would be: if I made significant modifications to the manual he provided me, but the outline, and some of the text has not changed since he provided it to me, am I violating any copyright laws if I give it to other people with my company name on it? If so, what changes do I have to make in order to make it my own manual? Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Marcus Parker replied 6 years ago.
The fact that you made some modifications to the text, but kept the same outline, does not in itself remove copyright protection. If you wrote your own book, using his text among others as source material, and arranging your book according to your own outline, it would be possible that you would have then written an original work and his copyright did not apply.

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Marcus Parker
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Experienced in corporations, LLC, partnerships, etc., formation and operation