Many newer freelancers wonder what happens to the ownership of their articles once they've sold them to a client.
There's another post on this blog about various copyrights and publication rights here: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2009/03/copyright-what-rights-are-you-selling.html
While the article noted above talks about various rights you can retain or sell as a freelance writer, it doesn't really answer the question of what happens to your rights when you ghost-write for a private client or a content mill.
Let's look at these options in some more detail.
Copyright and Private Clients
When you write articles for a private client, you are selling the full rights. This means you're a ghost writer and the client has paid for the right to do as he or she wishes with those articles.
Keep it firmly in mind that you're selling ALL rights to your client, unless specifically stated by mutual agreement with your client before hand.
Copyright and Content Mills
Content mills are like middle-men between you and the client. The client expects to pay for full rights to unique articles and content mills are simply there to match up available work with available ghost writers.
Once again, you are selling ALL rights when you submit your work to a content mill.
Retaining Your Own Byline and Rights
There are plenty of ways to write articles, keep your own byline and retain your own copyright at the same time as earning money. Unfortunately, many freelance writers bypass this option as it's often more competitive and sometimes more difficult to make a sale.
When you submit your articles to a magazine, the client is the magazine editor. If they accept your article for publication, you usually sell the one-time print rights for that magazine for an agreed time. Your byline is printed below the article title or headline. Once that agreed time-frame has expired, the rights return to you and you're free to sell that same piece again as a reprint.
(*note: you can't sell it again as an original piece. It must be noted on your next submission that it's been published somewhere else first).
You can also manage to retain a byline when you submit work to an article marketplace, like
Constant Content. If you only allow clients to purchase 'Unique' rights, this means they are the only client who may purchase or print your article, but you're given the attribution with a byline under the title as the rightful author of that piece.
I hope this helps!