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Thread: Protecting Yourself and Your WIP

  1. #101
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    A non-disclosure agreement is designed to stop someone talking about a specific incident or event. It doesn't have anything to do with preventing someone from plagiarising your work and while I admit I haven't seen the NDAs you use, I do not understand how one could be effective when used in the way you describe, nor do I see how it would provide protection over and above that which is already yours in law.

  2. #102
    Tending bar by the litterbox. Thomas Vail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heza View Post
    If someone wants me to do them a favor and take on the cumbersome task of reviewing a full novel, then I don't also want to read and sign a bunch of legal agreements. I already know not to violate someone else's copyright, and that legal protection is inherent to the process.
    If someone sent me legal documents to go along with a beta read, I'd pass. Even if that person isn't a little unhinged, it's drama that's not worth my time for doing a favor.

    And along that line,
    Quote Originally Posted by Ink Charmer View Post
    All of this is scary and fascinating.

    I have a question: Prior to 911 I wrote a book about dream interpretation.
    I sent it to an agent who requested to read the entire manuscript.
    The agent sent me a rejection letter yet a year later a more famous author published an eerily similar book to include some of my quotes.
    Some of those quotes were only different by a word or two.
    This isn't the first time I've heard of a situation like this (Nancy Stouffer's claims that she came up with the ideas for ' Harry Potter' first, which despite the preponderance of evidence otherwise, she seemed to actually be sincere about, come to mind), and as always, I say that at that level, there is just no profit to stealing some unknown author's work and passing it on. For one thing, you need both a crooked agent AND a crooked famous author to be in cahoots on it, and for another, if they get found out, that's at least two ruined careers along with whoever else gets pulled down along with them, instead of the much, much easier path of, 'this new author has sent me a wonderful MS that I know the perfect publisher for, let's get it sold.'

  3. #103
    Insufferable Know-It-All TuckerMcCallahan's Avatar
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    Wow. I didn’t realize how much time had passed. I got caught up in work. But I didn’t forget this discussion. Pinky swear!

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    A non-disclosure agreement is designed to stop someone talking about a specific incident or event. It doesn't have anything to do with preventing someone from plagiarising your work and while I admit I haven't seen the NDAs you use, I do not understand how one could be effective when used in the way you describe, nor do I see how it would provide protection over and above that which is already yours in law.
    You are absolutely correct in that a NDA won't stop anybody from plagiarizing your work. But that's not the point of a NDA.

    The purpose of an NDA is to create a confidential relationship between a business with a trade secret - in this case me, an LLC with a new writing/editing project - and the person to whom the secret is disclosed - my Beta, who I entrust with my entire new, unpublished writing/editing project.

    It's worth mentioning that you all are assuming a confidential relationship already exists when you vet a new Beta. But things happen. Relationships go bad. All a NDA does is create a legal, binding contractual relationship that states that your confidential relationship does in fact exist, and you're able to spell the terms of it out with your Beta.

    As for a NDA providing protection over and above what's already "mine by law"? This is sticky. According to the letter of US law, I don't think it does. But oftentimes, these matters aren't decided in courts. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't get to go to court and have my grievance heard. I didn't have the money to spend for attorney's fees on top of paying for half (or more) of arbitration costs. In the end, the book my "friend" created and sold with my work in it only netted a few hundred dollars in sales (I'm holding out it was my work people paid to read; perhaps if she’d included more of it, she would’ve sold more books, LOL). Some arbitration firms won't even hear matters if the potential damages are less than $5000. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of dealing with IP attorneys, the going hourly rate is between $200-300 (disclosure: in my area - northeastern Ohio).

    For me, a NDA is like insurance. Copyright is good. Copyright plus NDA is better. Kind of like health insurance. Standard plan is good. Standard plan plus flexible spending account is better. Or car insurance. Standard coverage is good. Standard coverage plus rental car is better. That's the kind of person I am. Like I mentioned before… call me Fox Mulder. I’m paranoid, careful, and yeah… I have trust issues.

    I hope that clears up why I use NDA’s. And I hope you good people won’t hold it against me. You know how the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice… shame on me.

    Be Well ~ Tux

  4. #104
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks for the tips!

  5. #105
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    I've thought about getting a beta. I really could use the feedback, but I'm so paranoid. That said, I put a date and time stamp on my WIP. Might be willing to send brief excerpts and receive the same.
    Last edited by Cindyt; 09-24-2016 at 02:15 AM.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

  6. #106
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    I've thought about getting a beta. I really could use the feedback, but I'm so paranoid. That said, I put a date and time stamp on my WIP. Might be willing to send brief excerpts and receive the same.
    What will you do when the time comes to go out on sub, if you don't trust readers?

  7. #107
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    It's not readers I don't trust. It's the prospect of having my story stolen by an unethical beta that concerns me. I think everyone has that fear.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

  8. #108
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    It's not readers I don't trust. It's the prospect of having my story stolen by an unethical beta that concerns me. I think everyone has that fear.
    But my question is, if you don't trust beta-readers, how will you trust agents or publishers?

    And - no, actually, I don't have that fear. I don't believe "everyone" does.

    Best advice - get to know your beta before you send your book out. But that would only be sensible anyway, since you'd want to know how seriously to take their advice (and also - it's such a favour, beta-reading: it isn't something you can really expect a total stranger to do.)

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    It's not readers I don't trust. It's the prospect of having my story stolen by an unethical beta that concerns me. I think everyone has that fear.
    I don't. Not even a tiny bit.

    Your work is copyrighted as soon as you write it. Presumably you'll have copies of your work and earlier drafts. It would be easy to prove you wrote it, and easy to prove you gave it to the beta.

  10. #110
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    In order to enforce an NDA (speaking as someone who has signed hundreds and issued fifteen or twenty to large groups of software users and developers) you have to take the person to court.

    It's pretty useless without a corporation and fleet of attorneys on retainer.

    You have copyright as creator ab ovo; the second you begin creation, you have copyright and retain all rights until you contractually sell or lease them or give them away.

    Don't trust someone? Don't have them beta.

  11. #111
    permaflounced
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    Speaking as a lawyer, I concur that an NDA is pretty useless in this situation and adds nothing to the copyright protection you already have.

  12. #112
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    Thanks for your kind input. I found an editing app I like.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

  13. #113
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    Thanks for your kind input. I found an editing app I like.
    Editing apps aren't replacements for beta readers and beta readers aren't replacements for editors.

    What's the outcome you're after?


  14. #114
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    Editing apps aren't replacements for beta readers and beta readers aren't replacements for editors. I realize this.

    What's the outcome you're after?
    I've had images stolen from my websites so I guess my distrust stems from that. I am looking for lack of consistency, whether something makes sense, grammar, and the like. I cannot afford to send a work to an editor, nor sue someone for copyright theft. So I'm stuck, aren't I?
    I
    Last edited by Cindyt; 09-24-2016 at 04:17 AM.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

  15. #115
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    I've had images stolen from my websites so I guess my distrust stems from that. I am looking for lack of consistency, whether something makes sense, grammar, and the like. I cannot afford to send a work to an editor, nor sue someone for copyright theft. So I'm stuck, aren't I?
    I
    No, you're not. Stick around, get to know some people here, build up trust between you and them, and you'll find you don't need to rely on an app. No-body here wants to steal your work - everyone's too busy with their own!

  16. #116
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    I've had images stolen from my websites so I guess my distrust stems from that. I am looking for lack of consistency, whether something makes sense, grammar, and the like. I cannot afford to send a work to an editor, nor sue someone for copyright theft. So I'm stuck, aren't I?
    I
    I understand! I've had pictures lifted too. Some people think that what they see on the internet is fair game.

    But, as mccardey and others have said, you can get excellent feedback here. It's a matter of building rapport etc.


  17. #117
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    I'm sure you're right. And thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    No, you're not. Stick around, get to know some people here, build up trust between you and them, and you'll find you don't need to rely on an app. No-body here wants to steal your work - everyone's too busy with their own!
    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    I understand! I've had pictures lifted too. Some people think that what they see on the internet is fair game.

    But, as mccardey and others have said, you can get excellent feedback here. It's a matter of building rapport etc.
    I'll take your advice. Thank you.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

  18. #118
    figuring it all out Yportne's Avatar
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    This thread changed my thinking on beta readers. Thanks everyone. Good advice all around. Encourages me to wait a while before asking for that kind of help. Probably wise to make it known here and there that I am looking for that kind of help. Might encourage others to put me in their watch list?
    Words go together in zillion of ways. Some ways go shallow but some will go deep if we re-member that words are only handles to carry the idea of some thing from one person to another--not the thing itself.

  19. #119
    Left-Handed Writing Fairy folclor's Avatar
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    This is really enlightening. I am near the end of my rough draft of my novel and was talking to my husband and his family last night about beta readers as I know a couple of people I'd like to use as such already (though I'll likely end up wanting more than two in the end). While my mother-in-law found this idea fascinating both my husband and father-in-law insisted I go to an attorney and draw up an NDA despite the fact that I hand write (with dates) before I type and save each new draft as a different version. I came here hoping to find information on whether NDAs were standard in this matter and I'm so glad I read this thread!

    Thank you for your wonderful advice!

  20. #120
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    A non-disclosure agreement wouldn't prevent them from pirating your work, only from discussing it with other people.

    If you have good betas you don't need anything like that, and you wouldn't work with poor ones, would you?

  21. #121
    Left-Handed Writing Fairy folclor's Avatar
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    Thank you for explaining to me, in the past and reiterating now, that an NDA isn't what one should aim for in a trusting relationship with beta readers.

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