Yesterday, I posted a (long, unfortunately) discussion on using open formats for a CV, and why it's a good idea even if others think otherwise. One point I made is that recruiters make changes to candidate's CVs, even if that's only to place their branding on the document prior to sending it out to clients.

This is an interesting practice, to say the very least.

Consider this: if I downloaded a feature article from the Irish Times web site and changed its font and uploaded onto my web site (preserving, of course, the by-line and stating where the article originated), would that be legal?

As soon as a work is created in Ireland, it's automatically protected by copyright, the control of which vests with the author. My CV is protected by copyright, and I'm it's author – therefore, I "own" the copyright on my CV.

This is important: by sending my CV to a recruiter, one could argue that there's an implicit copyright license (if such a thing exists in Irish law) extended to the recruiter to make copies of my CV and to distribute those copies to hiring managers. As it happens, I exercise this right when I ask recruiters not to send my CV to any hiring company without my explicit agreement on a case-by-case basis.

But recruiters don't tell me that they will put their branding on my CV. I can't agree to something I'm not told is going to happen. Therefore, recruiters don't have my agreement to make even that "small" change to my CV1.

To do so is to violate my copyright, isn't it?

If I'm wrong, I'd love to be pointed to the relevant court decision or statute.


It's never a small change, as – based on the recruiter-branded CVs I have seen, both my own and other candidates' – very often the flow of the document is damaged by this change