Your Speech: Intelectual Property

Your Speech: Intellectual Property

Your words – both written and spoken are your intellectual property. Of course the same applies to other writers and speakers.

Be careful what you steal – or are tempted to steal. Copyright law protects a work when it is created. A speech is created when it is delivered. An article is protected when it is written.

After I delivered a speech to an accounting association, an audience member approached me to compliment me on my speech. She then commented that she enjoyed my funny stories so much that she had written them down for her husband to use – because he was a speaker.

In shock I pointed out to her that these were my stories - my intellectual property and not for others to use. She shuffled this off with – “Oh don’t worry – the two of you will never be presenting at the same event.”

She missed the point. You would think that an accountant would know better. Breaking the law is not about getting arrested – it is about breaking the law. Did someone mention Enron?

If you plan to quote other sources extensively – ask for and obtain permission. If you quote short pieces – be sure to give credit. Don’t be a thief – even a clever one.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
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