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  1. Niddy
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    Niddy New Member

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    Afraid of plagarism?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Niddy, Sep 18, 2008.

    Hey gang...I'm not sure where to ask this, but I'm seeing so many great poems, songs, stories on here that people want advice on. I'd love to put some of mine on here, but what's protecting us from people stealing our work? I'm not seeing any copyright info at the end of most posts, and is that even enough to hold up if there is an issue?

    Thanks guys,
    ~Jeni
    :D
     
  2. flashgordon
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    flashgordon Contributing Member

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    Well, there is nothing stopping anyone from stealing your work - whether there is a copyright statement or not. Those that steal don't usually seem bothered by such statements. However, technically they are not necessary, as the moment you pen something on paper (or the computer) it is protected by copyright. Proving it in a court of law may be difficult, but I doubt anyone would have the financial monies to take up the case.

    I guess that is why community is such a big deal on forums. We grow to know each other and trust that we are honest people all trying to improve our writing. Most writers know that plagiarism will come back to bit them eventually, so they don't do it. But I could be wrong.
     
  3. DarkMaiden273
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    DarkMaiden273 Member

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    I also looked for copyright on here when I joined, but didn't see it. On some other forums I've looked at and read things on, if you post it it's copyrighted, or so it says, but I agree that doesn't stop people from taking your ideas. Trust is just where you have to place your stories. If you post anything online it could be stolen. I also agree with flash in that I doubt people would take it to court to fight you for your story as their's.

    Question: If you type something on your computer and you pst it, let's say it gets stolen. Someone copies and pastes it to their Microsoft Word or whatever. Finishes the story themselves, prints it off and tries to sell it as their own. You, when you find out and are done screaming, go to court. Could officals come and look at your computer and see the date you typed your story and the day that the other person *copied* it onto theirs, to find out who typed it.
    This is just something my friends and I were talking about the other day.
     
  4. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Copyright Office.


    In some cases putting the work up in this forum is a means of public display of proof of date of creation.
     
  5. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    No. The date on a personal computer is in high suspect as it can be modified by the owner of the computer.

    In fact showing a post on this forum that dates your story or poem would hold more weight in court as you can not edit the date you posted something. (This is what I have heard, this is NOT Legal advice, I am NOT a lawyer or a Copyright Specialist, The best course of action you can take it talk with a lawyer and see)
     
  6. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    ^
    ^ True. Provided the thread doesn't get deleted and the forum doesn't close. Or you could always mail a hardcopy to yourself.

    I personally don't have a problem with copyright. I'm not planning to publish anything I write except for the journalistic novel I'm working on (which I won't be posting anywhere, anyway), and it's not likely anybody will make big bucks on the stuff I churn out, so I'm covered.
     
  7. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Any form of electronic data is editable, even the forum. I could probably learn how to do it in a weekend if I wanted to.

    Electronic dating is always going to be heavily scrutinized. However, even when you change the data, there is equipment that allows you to go back and find the real date the data was stored and created but it can be pricy and you probably won't be able to afford it.

    Rather, the important thing for protecting your work is too keep a record. Save your notes, your outlines, brainstorming (if you doodle or type it down), and keep all your drafts. Anyone who steals the work from this site (or anywhere else) will never have so much information on the piece and if it does come to court, you stand a better chance.

    Copyright belongs to you the moment the idea takes form. Also you can register a work with the Copyright Office. Ungood's link should have information about registering copyright, and having it registered makes court a lot easier.

    I wouldn't worry about that sort of thing here though. The review forums are closed to everyone but members, and most writers don't steal to make a buck.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Something like a poem or short story, I wouldn't worry about. Anyone who steals that won't make much cash anyways. As for posting a chapter of a novel, I wouldn't be worried at all. Even if someone was to copy your first chapter, their writing for the rest of the novel will be nothing like your writing. Ideas and the style of writing will be different. And to top it all off, I have never heard of a case where someone copies a story and tries to make money off it.
     
  9. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Humor me. You are saying you could in a week end.

    Figure out how to break into the database of this forum and change the date of someone else posts or even your own to be older or newer then it is?

    That seems a bit beyond belief to me.
     
  10. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I'm not really a hacker (networking isn't something I've studied in depth. I'm a programming man). But depending on the programming system the site uses (Most servers run off Unix but I've never bothered looking what this site is running on), its as simple as tracing the server IP (which is really easy if you know the URL) and then going through the data.

    I could learn how to do it probably in a weekend but that's no promise I could actually pull it off. Lots of sites (and I'm sure this one is one of them) have systems to protect them from data-manipulation. Being someone who has never really been interested in the fine aspects of networks and data basing, I'd probably never be able to do it, but I know a few guys at my school who probably could (its not usually a subject we discuss :p).

    Don't let me scare you though. No hacker is going to waste time on a writing forum. Hackers are more interested in getting money or information that can be sold than in a nice short story written by our resident members.
     
  11. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Well, it isn't impossible right now. The forums is using vBulletin 3.7.0 (you can see this at the end of the page). Right now the version is 3.7.3. Looking around in google you could probably find an exploit that targets version 3.7.0 that might have been patched up in later releases. This almost certain as much of the minor releases of most major software (minor being 3.7.*, as of right now) are done because of security holes. The major versions (3.* or * [to express more than 3]) are usually done to improve and add features. Certainly no one would want to hack this forums, but it is not impossible(as compared to non-comercial in-company private tools, which IS particularly hard).

    I think that's what lordofhats meant.
     
  12. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    I remain by my first stand.

    It seems a bit beyond belief.

    With that said, lets get back on topic.

    I believe the question asked has been answered. Also please note, Mailing something to yourself via snail mail is NOT copyrighting the work correctly, nor is it dating it officially.(Taken Directly from the Official FAQ)

    Please read the FAQ in the Copyright Link provided. Europe, and most other countries carry the same rules and laws in regards to copyright.

    This is a very good article as well regarding somethings to consider when considering copyright and the sale of your work to another.

    I hope this helps answers your questions and considerations.
     
  13. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    Another thing. Always think this (this is what got me to posting)
    Your work is never Good/supergood enough that someone what's to take it. If you're that concerned, post half of your things, or leave out some sentences or something. I doubt anyone on this website would do any plagarism anyway.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's always someone who'd do anything anywhere!... why this site should be an exception escapes me, since anyone can join it...

    but as far as posting only parts of your work, that's a vital necessity, anyway, since if you post the whole thing, you'll use up the 'first rights' on your work and that's all most magazines will buy...
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    We have had a plagiarist or two try to steal material from members. One was even so brazen as to accuse the other member of being the plagiarist.

    The Internet is wide open, and anyone can get an account on the site without any proof of identity. Most of our members are outstanding, but there can always be a bad apple or two in the barrel.
     
  16. Gamecat
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    Gamecat Member

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    I've heard, but have no idea about the legality of this, that if you want to protect yourself from plagarism then a cheap method is to place your story/peom/whatever in an envelope and post it to yourself. The envelope will be sealed and have a date stamp on it which should stand up in court as to when the piece was written.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've done this myself, but Maia says it has absolutely no legal standing.

    The US Copyright office says that a filed copyright registration is neeed to litigate a case of copyright infringement, but if two people have attempted to tregister the same work, I would thank that any evidence that disputes the other party;s claim woulkd have to be weighed.

    When I have done this, I always used Registered Mail so the USPS has a record of the number on the sealed envelope. But it still may be possible to falsify such evidence, so it may come down to convincing a jury (a jury trial is always your right, although the judge still ghets to rule on what is admissible).

    Bottom line, it's no guarantee. If you really want to be safe, keep original copies, let trusted people know of their existence, and spend the money to register your copyright. But it's probably not worthwhile for anything smaller than a novel or novella, and the publisher or agent will probably take care of that anyway.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'the poor man's copyright' is nothing but an old wive's tale and has absolutely no standing in us courts [tho' does seem to have some in the uk]... and it's addressed right on the us copyright site:

    it will prove nothing, so don't waste money on the paper and postage... not even registered mail will prove anything...

    the best way to protect your work is to save your earliest notes on whatever you've written 'em, plus a couple of early drafts, to show how you developed the work from a simple idea... a sane plagiarist won't bother going to all that forgery trouble... and a nut won't be able to pull it off...
     

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