1. hindsbru
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    hindsbru New Member

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    Newbee needs some suggestions to thwart the thieves!

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by hindsbru, Dec 24, 2010.

    Hello out there in writing land. I just joined in hopes of gaining some wisdom on how to retain years of hard work.

    My wife and I have co-written 3 books. One, we self published. The other two completed works have been idle in the safe for several years as we lost some momentum with life, grandkids, MS and such.

    Our hopes to publish as we become more up to speed with the internet has escalated to the point where we're about ready to give it another go. However, recently we were robbed. The buggers actually took the safe where the manuscripts were stored.

    When we first created the manuscripts, one way to copyright was to send a copy of the manuscript to yourself and the postmark served as an official documentation. Those envelopes were in the safe too.

    Since the works were created in MSWord(Yes, we still have them). Is it possible that we could still be protected by the documentation of the file properties? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as would any suggestions about posting this in other areas.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Ouch - sorry about being robbed - that really sucks.

    Call the Library of Congress and ask how to maintain copyright.

    I think you'll be ok though - you say you still have Word copies, which is important, and come on - the robber stole your safe, I'm sure there's a police record of it (I hope), so if you can prove that you had the stories and he found them in that safe, is anyone going to believe the robber wrote them? especially if you have the old copies to back up your story?

    Call the Library of Congress and cops, though, ASAP.

    Oh and welcome to Writing Forums. :)
     
  3. hindsbru
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    hindsbru New Member

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    Thanks Mallory,
    We sure did have a police report and like I said, it is all on the confuser. The scary part is the computer can probably be manipulated to create any date one wants on a computer file which wouldn't guarantee that we'd done it years ago.

    Our fear, is that some bone head with incredible luck would change the name and date on the work, get it published and the first we'd see of it would be someone reading it at Starbucks!

    Not likely I'm sure, they probably trashed all but the cash and jewelry. But, ya never know. Much worse books are best sellers and all it takes is the right publisher.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you don't have to call the loc!

    your work was under copyright from the moment it was completed and set down on paper or on your computer's hard drive... that can't change till 70 years after both of you are deceased...

    you need to familiarize yourselves with what copyright really means and how it works... for instance, in the us, that 'poor man's copyright' method of mailing the ms to yourself has absolutely no standing in court, so don't waste any more postage on doing that...

    the best way to prove you wrote something is to simply keep all your notes, the first and another early draft, along with the completed one... that will show that you developed the work from idea to book, which no one else can have done...

    however, fears of people stealing your ms and passing it off as their own are groundless, since it doesn't really happen... no one's crazy enough to do something like that when they'll so easily be caught, if the thing miraculously makes it to bookstores [which is highly unlikely anyway, since so few of all books that are written ever do]...

    go here and get the official skinny: www.copyright.gov

    and from now on, don't stash your work in a moveable safe!... ;-) ...and always keep a backup copy on a flashdrive, plus a hard copy...

    oh, and welcome to the forums!

    love and calming hugs, maia
     
  5. hindsbru
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    hindsbru New Member

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    thanks

    Many thanks Maia,

    I'm not sure if we still have all the notes. We're still discovering all the stuff that was in the safe. We haven't looked for the notes yet, they may have been there too, but I have saved the files.

    I'm learning that there is no way to know where to keep stuff. The safe was fire proof and after you've had a fire it just seems logical, that's where it should be. Had it been on my desk, it would still be there even though the computer is not.

    We did have it on a back up drive and the funny part about the computer they took, it had a fried hard drive!:) I get a real grin on my face everytime I think of them theying try to boot up my old Toshiba. It runs just a few minutes so you can see the desk top and see a great wall paper of our airplane.:D

    Try to do anything else and it would just freeze.;) I'd done every magic trick in the book and got it to run 4 or 5 times, just enough to copy everthing
    we needed. It's toast:p

    Angain, thanks for the words of wit and the website... we'll go there.
     
  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    They are looking for stuff they can pawn or fence. Your manuscripts are already in the trash.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sad, but ubdoubtedly true!
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hello and welcome
    Sorry about the robbery. I agree with SashaM I cannot see your manuscript being of any value to the robbers
     
  9. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome. :)
    Sorry to hear about the robbery.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hello Bruce, Welcome to the Writing Forums.

    As others have said, you are already protected under copyright law, although it's always best to have a history of drafts as provenance.

    Please read How to Use the Review Room before you post there. Posting your own writing for people to comment on should not be among the very first things you do here. It is worth taking the time to see what other people have done to improve their writing, and see if some of it applies to your writing as well. That is part of why we require members to review other members' work before posting their own for review. On the other hand, there are no restrictions, other than content and copyright rules, on showcasing your work in your member blog.

    Also, be aware that posting a piece of writing on any public site, including this one, will greatly diminish your chances of selling it for publication. Removing the writing later does not alter that fact - once posted, it is irreversibly considered published. So do not post anything more than a small excerpt of any piece you are planning to submit for publication.

    If you haven't explored the site yet, you should probably do so soon. Newcomers often gravitate to the Lounge, the Word Games, or the Review Room, but there is much more to be discovered if you poke in the corners. Remember to check out our FAQ as well, and be sure to read through the forum rules, too, to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Respect for one another is our principal mandate.

    As for the Review Room, new joiners often wonder why we do things a bit differently on this site than on other writing sites. We emphasize constructive critique as a vital writing skill. Training your eye by reviewing other people's work helps you improve your own writing even before you present it for others to see. Therefore, we ask members to review other people's writing before posting work of their own. The Review Room forums on this site, therefore, are true workshops, not just a bulletin board for displaying your work (and on that note, please only post each item for review in one Review Room forum). Also, please use the same thread for all revisions and additional excerpts from the same piece of writing. See this post, Why Write Reviews Before Posting My Work? for more information.

    And while you're looking around, don't forget to check out the RPG forum for improvisational fiction. Also try our Weekly Short Story Contest and Weekly Poetry Contest. They actually run more than one week apiece, but any member may enter, and all members are urged to vote for their favorites.

    Enjoy your stay here, and have fun!
     

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