1. irinatorch

    irinatorch New Member

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    Copyrights question

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by irinatorch, Mar 28, 2017.

    Hi there,
    I am in the progress of writing my first serious novel, it is quite far from being finished, but I am already thinking about how I would like to publish it and well, since I have never done this before, I would like a piece of advice about copyrights. I am going to write it in english, which is not my mother language, that means I am going to ask a friend or hire someone to edit it and check my mistakes or make corrections. I will also try to find a publisher or publish it myself - printed or/and epub. Now, the question is - shouldn't I worry about my idea being stolen by one of the people who will read/view/edit/correct etc it? I mean, what guarantee do I have that I will send my novel to a publishing house or to an editor, get rejected, and after that discover that someone had stolen my story, changed the title/character names/whatever and published it under their name? Or if I publish it online and someone from the readers who has connections with a publishing house decides to print it and presents it as theirs? Is their a way to avoid this from happening somehow? Buying the copyright for the novel or something like that? How does this work? Thanks!!!!
     
  2. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Well, having just published, there is not a lot of money in the writing business to make it worth stealing. My only concern, and it is probably not warranted, is that if I publish an extract of my novel in the public domain, someone might snag it and use that in a scenario in theirs, leading to possible accusations of plagiarism. It is not likely.

    I did copyright my flagship, "The Eagle and the Dragon," and it is, if you live in the US, a very easy process. Just go to copyright.gov and follow the yellow brick road. It takes about 10 minutes, costs $35, and you will have your copyright in about six months. What it does is gives you the right to sue for damages.

    As for someone on this site stealing your work, not likely. As a general rule, I exchanged my work with beta readers via e-mail. But that was the only caution.

    As to submitting your work to agents or publishers, not to worry... that is very much not going to happen.

    Just write your story and enjoy the ride!
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    In most countries your work is copyrighted as soon as you write it down. Some countries have systems of registration, but others don't. You'll have to investigate how things work in your country.

    But, really, it doesn't do much practical good unless you're making a LOT of money. I've been plagiarized (had an entire book stolen, character names changed, re-published under a different title and author name) and all I could realistically do was contact the places selling the stolen book and tell them to stop, which they did. It would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to pursue legal action, and there's absolutely no guarantee I'd have been able to collect any judgement I received. So... I had to let it go. Registered copyright would have made no difference one way or another in that situation.

    Also, that was a post-publication theft. As long as you only submit to reputable agents/publishers, there is a near 0% chance of your work being stolen before it's published.

    And for what it's worth, a near 100% chance that it'll be stolen after it's published, by pirates if not by plagiarists. So... resign yourself to that. Sorry.
     
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  4. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    My worst nightmare! :eek:

    At least the pirates don't say it's theirs!
     
  5. Question2

    Question2 New Member

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    Wouldn't his publisher have stopped publishing it once they realised it was a copy of your work?
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Self-published. Most plagiarism these days is.
     
  7. Ryan W. McClellan

    Ryan W. McClellan Banned

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    All you can really do is put "Copyright (C) 2017 - [Your Full Name]. All Rights Reserved" on the footer of every page, but the thing about copyrighting is it is not a guaranteed way to protect your information. BayView is absolutely correct: the mere act of putting something down on paper (as long as you have proof that it is yours, i.e. the copyright statement) is called a "Shadow Copyright", meaning it is self-proclaimed.

    There is a system the U.S. Copyright office uses that states the expression (i.e. the written work) is copyright-worthy, but the idea (the actual concept, not the medium it is written in/on) is not. You can't copyright an idea, so I suggest you simply make it clear that the work is copyrighted (99% of people won't bother to see if it really is or not anyway) and then get it out there.

    Over preparing is as bad as under preparing...
     
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The Copyright (C) notice has no legal value (https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html#notice) and may be seen as the sign of an amateur/inexperienced author (http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/advice/the-copyright-symbol-and-your-submissions and elsewhere).

    I have no idea what a "shadow copyright" is and neither does the first page of Google results - can you link to somewhere that clarifies what this term means? (Because in my world, putting something down on paper or other tangible form doesn't give "shadow" copyright; it gives copyright, period.)
     
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  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I've got no use for kale... Contributor

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    Question: How'd you find out about it?
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    A reader alerted me. She'd read my book, then bought and read the other one and recognized it.
     
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  11. Ryan W. McClellan

    Ryan W. McClellan Banned

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    It's a self-established term. Creative people will do that, and if you had to go to the extent of looking up the term, I don't think you have room to talk. No offense meant, my friend, I am just arguing my point. And by the way, of course Copyright.gov is going to tell you that it has no legal value. They have an application fee for a reason. And of course typing "Copyright..." so-and-so is not of legal value, but are you honestly insisting that a "legal" copyright will protect you from potential plagiarism?
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    A "self-established term"? Is that a self-established way of saying you pulled it out of your ass?

    Come on, my friend. I looked it up because I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, hoping you weren't just making up terms in an attempt to look like an expert.

    For the rest of your post, I'm lost. You accept that typing "Copyright..." is not of legal value, but you advised people to do it anyway? Why?

    And, yes, holding the copyright on something is the best (only?) way to protect oneself from plagiarism. Not putting the word "Copyright" on the MS, because obviously a plagiarist will ignore that word just like he ignores the concept. But if you're plagiarized you can contact the people distributing the plagiarized material, tell them you hold copyright on it, and they are legally required to stop distributing the material. How else would you proceed?
     
  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Eh? You made up a term, and the fact that someone tried to look it up, proves that...that...what exactly do you think that it proves? That they're thorough and systematic and check before they question something? This is a bad thing?

    I think that you're misunderstanding the point. The point isn't "Adding the notice has no value, so you MUST SPEND MONEY to copyright your material!" The point is "Adding the notice has no value; your material is copyrighted automatically." Copyright.gov isn't trying to get you to write a check; they're explaining that you don't need to write a check. (Unless you, say, want damages, or...well, there are reasons to file for copyright, reasons that aren't addressed by typing a copyright notice on every page.)

    And are you arguing that the unnecessary copyright notice will protect from potential plagiarism?
     
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  14. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    No, no, if you don't write the cheque you only have shadow copyright... you have to put the "Copyright" symbol on the MS in order to...something...
     
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  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    In the Uk the creator a creative work whether that's a manuscript, photo, artwork or whatever automatically owns the copyright at the point of creation (unless they've contracted otherwise - e.g many contracts of employment specify the creations in the course of work belong to the employer).

    Putting a C on it, or registering it or whatever does absolutely nothing to change that basic fact ... although in some circumstances registration can have evidential value in demonstrating that you are indeed the creator.

    However the real issue is not proving your copyright it is enforcing the judgement
     
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  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Is a shadow copyright like an alternate fact ?
     
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  17. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Handy list of signatories to the Berne Convention is at https://www.copyrighthouse.co.uk/copyright/countries-berne-convention.htm. If your country is on that list (and most countries are) then you hold copyright as soon as your work is in tangible form.
     
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  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The .gov site with the information on copyright is full of fabricated lies and fake news.
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    A while back I had a photo ripped off and printed as posters that were distributed widely ... I went to court and won (in the UK we have a small claims track for IP violation), have I seen a red cent ?, have I buggery ... the violator is in china and basically just ignores the order of the British court.... the best I've achieved is to force legit British outlets not to sell the poster ... i'm not daft enough to try to pursue a chinese citizen in a chinese court
     
  20. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    As we are dealing with a question of law and none of us here are lawyers (as far as I know), my advice would be to seek the advice of counsel on any questions of law you might have. That being said, legally speaking, as BayView pointed out, copyright is established the moment you fix your work in tangible form. Having it protected in an actual copyright office (ie the US copyright office) adds legal weight to an argument you might make, but the metadata on your word processor is probably sufficient.
     
  21. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Oh my god, I just looked at the Look Inside feature on Amazon and you've actually put the copyright notice on every single page of your finished book. Like, the footer on every page is the copyright notice.

    Dude.

    Have you ever seen a published book that did this? I mean, if you're so determined to not look like a self-publisher that you've made up your own publishing company name(s), why would you do something that no legitimate publisher does?
     
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Seriously ? :eek:

    The only time I've seen anything like that is in draft contracts where it states "draft" on every page
     
  23. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Every page.
     
  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    maybe like Shadow copyright he has self generated the term "footer copyright" :D
     
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  25. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Disturbing.
     

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