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  1. #1
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    Should you copyright before submitting...

    ...your manuscript? Janet Evanovich, author of the provocative Stephanie Plum novels,
    says no, that it is a sign of distrust. I say it's just good business. Evanovich is a little red-headed grandma, has far more societal power than I. What would you do?

  2. #2
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, I thought anything one produced, that once you slapped your name on it, it was copyrighted. No?

  3. #3
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    Copyright belongs to you at the moment of creation. Should you need to defend this in court at a later date, there are precautions you can take. However, such cases are incredibly rare, and there's generally plenty of evidence against the plagiarist. In the US, I understand you can send a copy to a Copyright Office or something, though I don't think that in itself provides legal protection. No such body exists in the UK.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that magazines will often take the copyright of stories they publish on the proviso that copyright reverts to the author on publication. Slapping copyright on your submitted manuscript will only annoy them as they'll have to specifically ask for it from you.

  4. #4
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    True, that. However...

    Quote Originally Posted by tmso View Post
    Hmmmm, I thought anything one produced, that once you slapped your name on it, it was copyrighted. No?
    ...it is my understanding that copywriting gives access to legal tool, etc. to remedy the infraction. What if your work was being plagarized by someone overseas? I'd want more than a mere inherent copyright to secure my legal rights.
    Not sure I would trust the DMCA, either. I'm working on a project now, and it is very, very time consuming. Not willing to share.

  5. #5
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sifutofu View Post
    ...it is my understanding that copywriting gives access to legal tool, etc. to remedy the infraction. What if your work was being plagarized by someone overseas? I'd want more than a mere inherent copyright to secure my legal rights.
    Not sure I would trust the DMCA, either. I'm working on a project now, and it is very, very time consuming. Not willing to share.
    If the country in question is not a signatory of the Berne Convention, you're stuffed. Actually, you're pretty much stuffed anyway.

    OTOH, you might get hit on the head by a meteorite and develop superpowers...

  6. #6
    Goblin Princess Teresa Edgerton's Avatar
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    I agree with those who say don't do it. Many editors say it's a sign of distrust, looks amateurish, and it makes a bad impression. The rest don't care, but you shouldn't be sending your story or novel manuscripts to any magazine, e-zine, or publishing house you can't trust anyway.

    And once something is published, it won't make a difference to those who would steal it. They know your writing is copyright as soon as it's written, and that doesn't stop them.

  7. #7
    The Great Flying Bear choppy's Avatar
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    The question I have is what are you really afraid of? That you are sitting on the next Harry Potter and someone's going to come scoop it out from under you?

    Ignoring the probabilities involved, let's say that happens. You submit to a publisher and they decide not to give you your cut and the book sells like hot cakes. They win. You lose. Right?

    But who would be dumb enough to do that? If something sells, publishers will want to squeeze more out of you. And they can't do that if they've screwed you over. They can't send you out on tour. They can't have you give public readings and signings. They can't cash in when you to write your next five books.

    Not to mention, what happens when we're talking about a large enough sum of money to bother suing over, and you show up in court with a prepared case. You have a dozencomputer files - previous drafts, brainstorming, world building, plot skletons, character sketches, etc. all timestamped prior to the date of publication. You have witnesses who test-read your drafts. You can point to timestamped internet forum discussions where you introduced your main characters. You can show them the three dozen rejection letters from other publishers that you collected, perhaps even the rejection letter that the publisher in question sent you. In civil matters it all comes down to a balance of probabilities, remember.

    Maybe it's just me, but publishing just seems like one of those games where it doesn't pay to play it dishonestly.

    Maybe I'm just naive.

  8. #8
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Can just repeat what the others have said.

    An agent /publisher would be destroying their own reputation by doing so and no future writer would submit to them.

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