1. Billy Joseph Ethridge
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    Billy Joseph Ethridge Member

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    Just curious

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Billy Joseph Ethridge, Jun 12, 2014.

    What guarantees do we have that someone on these forums will not steal our material when we submit it for critique in the workshop and use it for themselves?
     
  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't flatter yourself.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    None, really. But there aren't really all that many stories to tell -- they're all a variation on only a few basic ideas. No one else can write your story. What makes it unique are the parts of yourself you've put into it. The characters you create will always be unique.

    You could post a prompt, or even a chapter and have 100 people write a story based on those prompts/characters/situations, and you'd get 100 very different stories.
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum @Billy Joseph Ethridge. There is no hard-and-fast guarantee. But there are some things that you should remember.

    First, anything that you write is copyrighted the moment you write it. That means that if someone else publishes it under their name and makes money on it, you have a legal claim against them. As a practical matter, such claims can be expensive to pursue. Ideas, however, are not subject to copyright. So, if you post an idea, that can be used by someone else. However, keep in mind that all ideas have been used in some form or other before, and how I approach your idea might be very different from how you do.

    Second, if you put anything up on this forum in its entirety - a short story, for example - you will not likely be able to publish it anyway. Check out the thread in General Writing on this subject.

    Third, this forum can be divided into two groups - those who are already published and those, like myself, who are still in the aspiring category. Someone who is good enough to already be published will not need to steal someone else's story, and someone who isn't published yet but is confident in his or her abilities to believe (s)he soon will be will also not feel the need to pilfer. Someone who is not good enough to be published may feel the need to pilfer but is unlikely to be able to do anything with it. So, the odds of your idea being snatched and made into a best-seller by someone else is remote.

    My advice is to regard this forum as a massive study group. If you are not comfortable posting your work, that's fine. As it happens, you will learn much more critiquing the work of others than you will from having your own work critiqued. And, as you participate, you will no doubt make friends among the members, some of whom you may grow to feel comfortable sharing your work with and sharing opinions. Nearly all of the beta readers I've recruited for my current project have been from here (and very patiently they are waiting, too).

    Enjoy.
     
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  5. Billy Joseph Ethridge
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    Billy Joseph Ethridge Member

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    Apparently you are a popular member of the community. I have met people like you on every forum I have been a part of, anonymous trolls with so little self esteem that they lash out at perfect strangers in an attempt to look clever or witty. I pity you my child, and others like you and I hope someday that someone will kick you in the head hard enough to jump start that light switch in your head that comes on when you become a mature adult.
     
  6. Billy Joseph Ethridge
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    Billy Joseph Ethridge Member

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    I was speaking strictly of copy and paste. Sorry should have clarified.
     
  7. Billy Joseph Ethridge
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    Billy Joseph Ethridge Member

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    I am glad you told me this because I am currently in the process of finishing up a short story collection that I intend to publish in the nest 2 weeks and I had intended to post a bit here to get some last minute advice. Now I will not post any of this material here until AFTER publication. Thanks for the advice!
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Sure, it's possible for someone to copy and paste what you've written and pass it off as their own. I think this has even happened before (though not on this forum). Anyone copying works like this is committing career suicide. Just being accused of plagiarism is bad. So I'd say that the overwhelming majority of writers don't do this sort of thing.

    There are, however, idiots who copy and paste stuff onto their blogs because they want to show off what they've "written" to their followers; they have no intention of getting published. The best thing you can do in this case is raise hell and hope they'll take it down. But again, this rarely happens. Don't let it stop you from posting in the Workshop.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Your statement that you "intend to publish in the next 2 weeks" suggests that you are going the self-pub route. If you are publishing traditionally, I would strongly advise you to check with the publisher (or your agent if you have one) to see if there are any prohibitions against this in your contract.

    ETA: While @123456789's post could have been put more politely, I think you overreacted. I hope this doesn't erupt into a flame war.
     
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  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just a clarification -- you say you are planning to publish the stories. I take it that means you are self-publishing? If so, you can do whatever you want. What Ed was talking about was posting a story in full. Many short story publications have rules that what you have submitted cannot have been published or made available online anywhere else. The rules vary -- some say having some of the piece on some websites is okay and some say that having it all on a website, or even having been published is okay. What we're talking about are the first rights of publication. That's what a lot of paying publications want (but again, not all).

    And if you're publishing the stories yourself, you can publish all stories that have already been published (provided you haven't handed over subsequent publication rights to the publication that already published them).
     
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  11. Billy Joseph Ethridge
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    Billy Joseph Ethridge Member

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    Nah, I just prefer to deal with trolls quickly and efficiently and move on after my point is made. I have no desire to enter a forum war with trolls, I am here to find ways to enhance my writing, and my status in the writing community, and maybe offer up some advice of my own that may help someone else.
     
  12. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I would go as far as to say that one could post a detailed outline of a story and every piece would be different. Style and imagination goes a long way.

    And welcome to the forum, @Billy Joseph Ethridge! :)
     
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  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    123456789 isn't a troll. He is a well known and valuable member of this forum, despite (and sometimes because) of his dry sense of humour and 'tell it how it is' style. You are new here, you don't really know anyone yet, perhaps you should refrain from name calling even if you dislike someone's comment.

    As far as your concern, anything you publish on the internet can be stolen. Published work too. However, as per workshop criteria, you won't be eligible to post in the workshop for another two weeks, and only after you give two meaningful critiques. So if you intend to publish in the next two weeks, it's unlikely you'd get it reviewed here anyway.
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think the "in the next two weeks" bit may be juuuuust a bit optimistic.
     
  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Still, I think more established members should use a bit of judgment and common sense when replying to new members. We want more people to join our community; we don't want to scare them away.
     
  16. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Paraphrasing in a more polite tone:

    You're not likely to write something someone would want the legal headaches over and/or risk being ostracized. No publisher wants that either.
     
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  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Plus, most of the folks here are writers with their own creations. Your creation is your own, no one wants to take it from you.
     
  18. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I have enough going on with my own story.
     
  19. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    I don't think someone is found that he plans to steal your story. Let me I have a friendly joking with you :)

    About 80 years ago an Iranian poet named " Bahar" was passing from a place. He saw a man was reading one of his poems for a group of people and in the end, he claimed, the poem is hims.
    Bahar told him, " but this poem is belong Bahar". The man that hadn't met Bahar yet said," Well, I myself am Bahar."
    Bhar replied wondered," Oh, I had seen the stealer of a poem before, but hadn't seen the stealer of a poet yet" :rofl:
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
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  20. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    Already on it. I have managed to find your work online and have taken the pieces I like. Kidding.

    There is never any guarantee. Its why some write excerpts and not whole ideas.
     
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  21. Billy Joseph Ethridge
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    Billy Joseph Ethridge Member

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    It was just a general question, and as I have said I participate in many forums and that is a typical troll answer so forgive me for assuming that someone who introduces himself with that comment along with an anonymous name was a troll. I have had work stolen from other sites published in someone else's blog. It was infuriating and I was wondering if this site had any way to prevent that.
     
  22. Killian Jones
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    Killian Jones Banned

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    Weird, I had to think for a moment about the meaning of the word 'anonymous' in context with internet message boards. As the majority of people use usernames instead of their actual names, most of us are technically anonymous. If you mean that his particular name is somehow more anonymous than others, it's not the case. His actual username is 123456789 and has been for a long time.
     
  23. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Billy Joseph Ethridge: Sorry to hear you've had work stolen before. That kind of thing doesn't fit easily into my head. I'm a writer because I want to write my stories, not someone else's. I believe just about everyone else on this forum would say the same thing. I've seen many pieces of work in our Workshop here, and read posts by other members in which they describe their ideas, characters, etc., and never once have I been even remotely tempted to steal any of their work. That's not because their work is bad, it's because it isn't mine. Stealing it would be the opposite of what I want to do - I want to create my own.

    I don't worry about my stuff being stolen by others here, because I trust that they want to write their own stories, not mine. Sure, I've only ever posted a fragment of one story here for critique, but that's not because I'm worried about someone stealing it; it's because everything else I've written is something I hope to eventually publish, and I won't post anything here I want to publish.
     
  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's certainly disheartening to have your work stolen. Happened to me too, both with writing and photos. I also had stalkers, crazy fans and trolls galore, making my time of publishing my creative writing on line interesting, to put it politely. So I understand what you mean. In the end, I realised the reality of the internet is that anything you put up can be stolen or misappropriated. Deciding to put something up is always a risk vs benefit question. So for photos I only put up resolution that isn't enough to even print a postcard. With writing, I put up things I don't intend to publish, or tiny excerpts, relying on the fact I have all my progress notes as evidence of it being mine.

    Much greater benefit of a good writing forums community, such as ours, is learning about writing through critiquing other's work, which is actually even more useful than having your own critiqued.
     
  25. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I don't think the dude intended to be a troll, he probably just doesn't see fit to explain himself and leaves it up to you to figure it out. Some people are like that. And all of our names, for the most part, are not our real names. I am not 'Link the Writer' in real life. That's just a name I use for this forum.

    As for your answer? I'm very sorry to hear your work had been stolen, and unfortunately there's no real good measure to prevent that other than simply not putting anything up that you want to publish in the long run. That said, people in this forum (at least) don't really want to steal your work. Not only because we're too busy with our own work, but your characters and your story are not what we want to write about. Even if they're awesome and amazing, they're still yours and we'll only offer encouragements or advice on your work.
     
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