I suspect this company is probably a scam so I wanted to put up a heads-up here.
I will give a bit of a narrative for why I am concerned.
Today I got this e-mail:
As writers we all find it extremely challenging to find a platform that can both share and market our work. Writes Out was created by writers for writers and has built the first ever free professional networking and sharing community for writers and readers of all kinds.
Writers Out (www.writersout.com) is a non-exclusive community empowering writers of all kinds both published or non-published to publish, share and sell their work whilst using professional networking to create a community, build a fan base and stay connected with their audience.
Sharing your books, blogs, poetry and other writings with thousands has never been easier and is a click of a button away:
1.Sign-up Free on Writers Out and become part of the largest network of writers and readers of all types!
2.Upload your books, blogs, scripts, poems and other writings. You may put these up for sale, offer them for free download or simply share a sample on your profile.
3.Create a buzz by using our friend’s inviter tool located on www.writersout.com/friends you may invite your friends from Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and many more networks, create a community as well as build a fan base. The more people join, the bigger your network gets, the more readers will have access to discover your work.
Other free features includes, file converter, profile badge, statistics, news and events, messaging system and the friends inviter.
Following a successful soft launch, our user base has grown 350% week on week and every profile with a book got multiple sales as well as bloggers, poets and many other writers who all got significant exposure to readers.
Join today the fastest growing writer’s community online at www.writersout.com and sign up for your free profile.
Thank you in advance and I look forward to your support.
Curator of Writers Out
I was curious so I went to the website. It presented like some sort of combo self-pub and social networking platform. Ok, I'm not opposed to self-pubing sometimes (my webnovel will be self-published) so I decide what the heck, it's free to sign up I'll do so.
And because I am careful like that, before completing my signup I went to the ToS.
It says this:
7. Proprietary Rights in Content on Writers Out
(a) Writers Out does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") that you transmit, submit, display or publish (“post”) on, through or in connection with the Writers Out Services. After posting your Content on, through or in connection with the Writers Out Services, you continue to retain any such rights that you may have in your Content, subject to the limited license granted herein. By posting any Content on, through or in connection with the Writers Out Services, you hereby grant to Writers Out a license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on, through or in connection with the Writers Out Services, including, without limitation, through the Writers Out Services to applications, widgets, websites or mobile, desktop or other services which are linked with your Writers Out Member Account (collectively, “Linked Services”), including, without limitation, distributing part or all of the Writers Out Services and any Content included therein, in any media formats and through any media channels, except that Content marked “private” will not be distributed by Writers Out outside the Writers Out Services and Linked Services. This license does not grant Writers Out the right to sell or otherwise distribute your Content outside of the Writers Out Services or Linked Services. After you remove your Content from the Writers Out Services we will cease distribution as soon as practicable, and at such time when distribution ceases, the license will terminate. If after we have distributed your Content outside of the Writers Out Services, you change the Content’s privacy setting to “private,” we will cease distribution of such “private” Content outside of the Writers Out Services as soon as practicable after you make the change. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you understand and agree that once Content is distributed to a Linked Service or incorporated into other aspects of the Writers Out Services, Writers Out is under no obligation to delete or ask other Users or a Linked Service to delete that Content, and therefore it may continue to appear and be used indefinitely.
(b) The license that you grant to Writers Out is non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free (which means that Writers Out is not obligated to pay you or anyone else deriving rights from you for the use of the Writers Out Services of the Content that you post), sublicensable (so that Writers Out is able to use, including, but not limited to, its affiliates, subcontractors and other partners, such as Internet content delivery networks and wireless carriers to provide the Writers Out Services), and worldwide.
So yeah, the way I read this Writers Out can use any writing posted on the site as they see fit, can sell the writing posted on the site to anybody else as they see fit and never has to pay the author a dime. Furthermore another part of the ToS says they reserve the right to charge fees at their discretion.
Not so much a publisher then as a thief of IP.
I will not be signing up for Writersout.com ever. Unless I'm grossly mistaken in my interpretation of their ToS I would advise that nobody else does either.