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  1. Val1
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    Val1 Member

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    Publishing and Copyright?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Val1, Mar 16, 2008.

    Hi,

    I've never written a book or anything, but am curious: what kind of copyrights/patent things protect your work when you submit to vaious places?

    For example, if you send to a publisher, do you need to copyright it first to stop them from stealing your idea or whole text?

    Same question for internet sites, blogs (i still hav no idea what these are), and any other way of publishing...

    thanks,
    Val
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Val1,

    According to U.S. Law, as soon as it is written, you own the copyright. You can go through the process to copyright your novels before you submit them. (This topic has come up before and mammamaia has the link for the copyright laws, but if she doesn't come across this topic and post the link, you can google or yahoo search it).

    But, as far as a reputable publisher stealing your ideas or submitted work? It just doesn't happen. Besides the possible legal ramifications and reputation damage inflicted, why, if a publisher discovered a writer who had an excellent novel, would they steal it and publish it under another author's name (and pay that author royalties) rather than the individual writer who wrote and submitted the piece? Logically wouldn't that author have the talent and ability to produce additional quality works that the publisher could publish and make money from?

    And for ideas being stolen? There are millions of good ideas out there, and the odds are your ideas are similar in some way to what's already been published and what people are trying even now to find a publisher to accept and put on the shelves (or online) for readers.

    If you have no idea what blogs are, I'll wait until you do before I try to answer your question in this area. What I'd wouldn't make sense otherwise.

    Terry
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Writing Resource Links post in the General Writing forum has a few links relating to copyrights and copyright law.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    here's the site:

    www.copyright.gov

    your work is already copyrighted when you finish it and put your name on it... all you do after that, is to 'register' the existing copyright with the library of congress... and all that does is give you a couple of additional benefits IF you ever go to court to prove it's your work if someone else claims authorship... you'll find all the answers you need on that site...

    registering your copyright before submitting your work would only brand you as an amateur to whoever you're submitting to, as the pros don't usually do that with anything other than screenplays and song lyrics...

    you can also archive your work with the writers union... see here for details:

    www.wga.org [movie/tv scripts]
    www.wgae.org [books/song lyrics/plays]

    the best way to protect your work is to keep all your earliest notes, your first draft and a couple of later ones, to show the development from idea to completed work... don't fall for the silly and totally useless 'poor man's copyright' that so many still seem to think works, as it has no standing in court in the us... that said, it may have some in the uk...

    hope this helps...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  5. Val1
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    Val1 Member

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    thanks guys for putting in the time to reply,
    so it seems that writers dont have too much to worry about, and you can just submit it to publishers without doing any tedious legal stuff?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    absolutely!... now, with screenplays/tv work, it's a whole 'nother ballgame..............
     
  7. Val1
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    Val1 Member

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    cool thanks maia, cogito and terry - good to know
     

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