Posting Your Writing, Will Someone Infringe on My Copyright?

Copyright Symbols
Image by MikeBlogs via Flickr

Posting Your Writing, Is It a Good Thing? or Will Someone Infringe on Your Copyright?      

     The other day a Twitter writer friend told me something that made my skin crawl. A friend of hers published his work on his blog. When he went to publish it, Amazon informed him someone had already published his story. This is every writer’s nightmare. Yes, take a breath here. In an ideal world copyright infringement would never happen. But, we don’t live in that world. Even though you post a copyright symbol on your blog, that doesn’t mean someone won’t steal your work.

Vampire Tracker #fridayflash #tuesdayserial Series

     Many of you know my Vampire Tracker characters, LaVella and Jeremy, have come to life in my recent #fridayflash / #tuesdayserial series. I’ve been very motivated by the feedback and encouragement to go full force on this story. But, after hearing that my mind is racing. What if I post it and then someone steals it?

Copyright and Google Alerts

     Back in November I wrote a post about Copyright, Social Media and Fighting Back, which was inspired by the Cooks Source magazine fiasco. I know there’s Google Alerts and if push comes to shove a lawyer can be hired. But, the question is do I really want to worry every second of the day that my work is being stolen? Honestly, I like the connections I get from posting and reading other writers work.

    What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you worried that somewhere down the line your work will be infringed upon? Why do your, or why don’t you, post your work?

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Helen says:

    I know this makes me cringe a little too, so for instance on my blog I have some excepts on a novel in progress but I have only shown very very small pieces – my other novel which I am trying to get published I haven’t shown at all, and I hope that my flash doesn’t get nicked, but what do you do? It’s nice to share with the writing community, it is the feedback and any constructive criticisms we receive that help motivate us and make us into better writers.

    I wonder could he not demand that the person who published his story have it removed?

    1. laradunning says:

      I would think he would need to go through the whole process of proving it was his work. While that is certainly doable it is a lot of headache. I’m stuck right now about my Vampire series as I plan to turn that into a YA novel. I want to post, but I want to be smart about it and not have my work stolen. Huge delima.

  2. hannahkarena says:

    When submitting short stories for publication, I know that most literary journals only consider work that’s previously unpublished. Posting it on your own blog counts as a publishing credit (self-publishing, obviously), so your submission gets tossed out. This also applies to novels and book publishers. That’s why I don’t really understand why so many people have blogs where they post the brand new chapters of their book; they’re disqualifying themselves from publication consideration in the future. It’s scary, but there are so many ways you can undermine yourself, your writing, and your chances of getting published without knowing it.

    1. laradunning says:

      I’ve heard that about journals and anthologies before. Sometimes is ok, most of the time not. I’ve been to several agent and editor workshops and guest speakers at writing groups. No one every said that. A couple actually said it worked to benefit you as it helped, or had alraedy helped, build up your readership and platform.

      1. hannahkarena says:

        My professor explained how it actually was copyright infringement to publish it once and then try to sell it to a publisher, because you had already used the first publishing rights, or whatever the legal term is. Blogs are good for original content to build a platform and readership. You can write about writing, but not post your creative work. We were taught unconditionally to just not do it.

      2. laradunning says:

        Hmmm..that’s interesting. At the writers conference last year no one seemed really concered with that. I’ll have to ask more about that this year.

  3. Helen says:

    How about only showing small sections of it, so that the whole story is not revealed? I know it’s difficult – if it was me I would be now I know that others like it, taking it off the blog and replacing it with something less important, say just a general piece of flash.

  4. Very serious issue, Lara. I love your chapters, but I often thought of that issue and how difficult it would be to rectify or get retribution.

    You know I’d miss those two, but you should consider doing what you guest SW Benefiel did and publish part of your chapters as short, shorts on Kindle.

    I don’t know the real answer );

  5. clarbojahn says:

    Yes, I’d heard that publishing your work on a blog counted as being published and you couldn’t then go out and say it was previously unpublished when you were looking for a publisher. However editors and publishers lurk blogs and if they found you and wanted you, you had it made. Like Julia and Julia.
    I too was going to publish short exerts from my children’s book as part of the promotion for it, but it wouldn’t be copy righted until closer to the actual publication date in October.
    It’s scary. I see your dilemma.
    You can go to http://www.writerschatroom.com tonight and ask the question there and see what their publishers have to say.

    1. laradunning says:

      Not sure I’ll have time to, but I will try.

  6. VonMalcolm says:

    Isn’t there some sort of time stamp recorded when you publish your story on a blog? I would think that would be good evidence as to you being the original author of a disputed piece of artwork. Also, I always thought ‘previously published’ meant being previously published in a professional market: a paid publisher with at least five thousand readers.

    1. laradunning says:

      At the workshops I attended at the writers conference they sort of implied that. Not in such terms, but that if you published your work on your blog it wouldn’t stop you from being published offically with a company. Seems like there is some leeway there.

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