1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    copyright and facebook

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Mckk, Jun 12, 2012.

    I apologise in advance if this seems like a stupid question, but paranoia gets the better of me and there're many on this forum who are very knowledgeable, so... 2 questions.

    1. Does it count as having been "published" if you have simply summarised your novel/plot in a message that is then posted on a Facebook wall? Does this affect anything in terms of getting published or your chances of doing so?

    2. Whose intellectual property is the information once it's been posted onto a Facebook wall?

    3. Can posting anything on a social media platform (FB, Twitter, whatever) affect your chances of getting published? For example, what if I post a paragraph from my novel onto a social media platform - has it therefore been "published" (thereby affecting my chances of actually getting published by a publisher) and is it still mine? Or does it now belong to whatever social network it's on?

    I'm inclined to think that it shouldn't affect anything, because as I've read Cog and Mama say many times, ideas can't be copyrighted - and surely a "summary" is just an idea, right?

    I haven't done what I detailed in question 3 - but I've certainly done the action in question 1 to varying degrees.

    Yeh, stupid question. But it would give me peace of mind just to be absolutely sure :)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    1. An idea is not copyrightable. If all you have posted is a synopsis, the story remains unpublished. That isn't to say it;s wise to post it, though.

    2. What you have posted is copyrighted, but only what you have actually posted. The expression of the idea is protected, the idea itself is not.

    3. Sure. If you have posted an entire story, you have squandered first publication rights, and few if any publishers will have any interest in it. And yet, you don't have the status of a published author, because no traditional publisher has accepted your writing.

    The greater the percentage of your manuscript that appears anywhere on the Internet, the less interest publishers will have in purchasing it.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup, that's right!

    in re #2, the complete work is still your intellectual property...
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thank you both for such fast and good answers :) Yeh I thought as much.

    I just got worried, because I'm part of a writers' group on FB and I literally just posted a summary of one of my scenes. But it's just one scene.

    And yeh I'm certainly not intending on posting my entire story on a social network platform. Probably any form of uploading and copy and paste should just be avoided, even if it's just excerpts.
     
  5. nostikquest
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    nostikquest New Member

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    Now I'm a little paranoid because I did post much of my story in the "notes"section on facebook so my friends could view it. It is set to where "friend's only" can view it. I have been going the route of self-publishing, so will having it posted harm my self publishing? Would it be benefical to go in and delete those notes?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This has nothing to do with copyright. Your intellectual property continues to be yours. However, by posting on the Internet, you compromise the first publication rights, which is a right you can sell once, and only once, if you haven't squandered it by using it yourself.

    Publishers will demand first publication rights as a condition of a publishing contract. If that piece of writing has already used the first publication rights, the contract can be voided.

    By limiting access to friends, you have protected yourself somewhat, but that also depends on how freely you have friended others. If a copy ends up anywhere in unrestricted internet space, for any reason, it is sufficient cause to void your contract, or to prevent it from being accepted for publication in the first place. So if one of your friends reposts your writing, or if facebook's security is penetrated by an archiver, you're screwed.
     
  7. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    There are also, of course, countless books (including plenty of bestsellers) in which publishers have become interested following - and sometimes because of - their authors exercising their own first publication rights online themselves, and demonstrating that there's an existing market for their work.

    Several very successful authors who have initially self-published on Kindle and other platforms have recently been approached by traditional publishers with contracts for books previously declined.

    There's always been "the exception that proves the rule", of course, but these days it's really starting to look as if the exceptions are becoming so common that the "rule" itself is pretty questionable. We live in changing times. ;)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry lex, but I think that is mostly propaganda promulgated by those who rake in money providing self-publishing "services."

    Publishers don't make contracts with new writers if first publication rights are not part of the deal. In this context, a new writer is one who has no traditional publishing credits. Publishers do not credit self-publication when determining whether an author is new.
     
  9. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Well, I've previously posted links to the interesting sites of two authors to whom exactly that has happened (and they're by no means the only two - it's increasingly common), but as we both know and have discussed privately, you chose to delete my links, Cogito. Even though they were answering another member's specific question and request for information, and were entirely in accordance with the forum's rules.

    And a member can't debate the point intelligently or constructively when a moderator does that, because apparently it isn't possible to show the evidence that you're mistaken, without it being removed.

    There are many instances of traditional publishers offering deals to authors who have initially self-published online, and that's increasingly common.

    We're not talking about anything obscure, here, either: at least one of them, recently, has become an extremely well-known and successful author whose work has even been televised as a result. It's very widely discussed in other writing forums, but you seem not to like it being mentioned here, for some reason. The voice of truth is easily drowned out by the voice of prejudice (especially when one can edit or remove the other's posts).

    Some of these authors, as I mentioned above, have received such approaches from publishers precisely because they had initially self-published and self-promoted online, thus proving that there's a market for their writing. This is simply factual. But when you remove the links that demonstrate examples of it, as you did last time, then readers will simply have to make up their own minds who's mistaken here. It won't be too difficult for anyone who looks around online, though. ;)
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You posted biased, commercial links. That is anecdotal data at best, not evidence. At worst it is deliberate misrepresentation by the site owner.

    Please read the site rules again, and also Attention, please, regarding offsite links.

    To all who will search online for evidence, always ask yourself: What does this person have to gain or lose by the position they are taking.
     
  11. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    This is simply untrue. They were not commercial links. There was nothing for sale there, nothing promoted, nothing advertised, no opt-in, no list-building. Nothing commercial at all, in any meaning of the word. (And needless to say, I have absolutely no connection, myself, with either site to which I linked).

    I had, and have, no difficulty understanding the "riles", thanks. As I explained to you at the time, as a forum owner myself, I fully appreciate and respect that you don't want to take any chances on anyone posting anything commercial/promotional here, and I didn't do that. I'm discussing it with the forum Administrator.

    Edited to add: I see you've now edited your own post above, twice, after my comments in this post. I suggest that there's nothing to be gained by continuing the conversation here: it's both unproductive and unnecessary, and disrespectful to this fine forum.
     
  12. bsbvermont
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    bsbvermont Active Member

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    Oh darn...this brings up a question...I have posted some...(OK my whole novel) on my google site, but it is closed to everyone except me. (This is just in case the house burns down and my back up disk is destroyed along with my laptop)... I am assuming that just because it is in the cloud somewhere, it is not considered "published" correct?
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    If access is restricted like that, it won't count as published (as other people can't actually view it).
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As long as the access restriction doesn't break down. It doesn't take long for the archive sites and rogue search engines to pick things up.
     
  15. shakechilli
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    shakechilli New Member

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    Google Terms and conditions says that anything stored on their server can be accessed or backed up several times to any other sources, if required. So when taking backups, try a dedicated backup service who won't own your uploaded stuff as theirs.
     
  16. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    With social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc., I think the border of "intellectual property" is blurred in a huge way- anyone and everyone that has connections with you might be able to see it, depending on your security settings, and if they outright steal/copy the scene (practically impossible since it was merely a summary), then you should have rights to take legal actions. The way this sounds, though, is that you've thrown an idea out to the world looking for a response. You still have the right to use that information, but because it's public, then so does anyone else who has access.

    I can't say for sure how publishers look at public postings, but I will say this: anything that's free for the public probably isn't worth anything to publishers. That one chapter, if it's around the climax or conclusion of the novel, can spoil and ruin the book for the public, making it unappealing to buy the entire book. Short stories, maybe general concepts, those are excusable. A chapter from the beginning? They can simply use that as an advertisement piece since it's already public, hoping to build sales. A chapter from mid-plot, right in the pivotal moment of the novel? Then the entire book is going to be a bust. I'd suggest you be VERY careful about what's public and what isn't, especially if you want it published; there's no definite answer, as this often (always?) is specifically case-by-case.
     

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