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Thread: [Display site] Writers Out

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    [Display site] Writers Out

    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:

    Dear Writer


    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.



    Inbal Gould
    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 Contents 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.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonm223 View Post
    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.
    And yet this is the, what, fifth new display site this year alone? Bleah.
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  3. #3
    chief sitter on people fourlittlebees's Avatar
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    This is boilerplate TOS for content-including websites. Check out Facebook's and you'll see one reading much the same way. The non-lawyerese translation is "if you don't want your work duplicated, don't post it online."

    Essentially, they are claiming right to use it in advertising or widgets advertising their site, or with some sort of site they partner with. It's not "theft of IP" as they aren't claiming rights to your stuff (which, actually, some sites DO claim when you post it) and they aren't selling it. They also aren't claiming that they can use it after you delete it from the site.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    What really worried me was the bit about sub-licensing.

    As a note I'd never publish content on Facebook either. I'll link to off-site content through Facebook but nothing more.

  5. #5
    chief sitter on people fourlittlebees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonm223 View Post
    What really worried me was the bit about sub-licensing.

    As a note I'd never publish content on Facebook either. I'll link to off-site content through Facebook but nothing more.
    Okay, but read again... are you publishing on, say, WordPress.com or Blogger? You'll find their TOS reads much the same way, as they use excerpts from blogs on the featured blogs page. Odds are unless you are running software on a server in your living room, you've agreed to similar terms somewhere.

    Again, the sublicensing is for partners... say, a widget they use on a partner site that rotates content from writers to get people to view.

  6. #6
    ~writes for Him~ Robin Bayne's Avatar
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    I got that too, and when I went to unsub it looked like it had come from "Poets & Writers," which is a legit publication.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    It is owned by some random R&B singer in NYC. I'd never heard of her before.

    That said, it is possible my scam-alarm went off a little loud because of the strange way I was contacted by them. Getting an unsolicited e-mail invite with no information about a referrer or anything like that was creepy and predisposed me to be overly-cautious.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My name is Kimberly; I’m a lawyer as well as a self-published author who has recently joined writersout.com. I have read Simons comment and quote from their site and as a lawyer I must say that you’re interpretation of their T&C’s is wrong as they clearly state that they are NOT claiming any rights, copyright, royalties and they are acting a pass through service. Fourlittlebees was right regarding the 3rd party comment in which the website will allow you to post a badge or a widget on a third party service like Facebook, etc. I am using the service and can confirm that they are a great resource for writers.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    You do realize that I already said I may have jumped the gun right?


  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Apart from the fact that this was covered in thread, I suspect Kimstar might want to disclose an association beyond 'recently joined' if her goal is to help with the reputation of this program.
    Emily Veinglory

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yes simonm

  12. #12
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimstar View Post
    My name is Kimberly; I’m a lawyer as well as a self-published author who has recently joined writersout.com. I have read Simons comment and quote from their site and as a lawyer I must say that you’re interpretation of their T&C’s is wrong as they clearly state that they are NOT claiming any rights, copyright, royalties and they are acting a pass through service. Fourlittlebees was right regarding the 3rd party comment in which the website will allow you to post a badge or a widget on a third party service like Facebook, etc. I am using the service and can confirm that they are a great resource for writers.
    As an attorney, I'm sure you're aware of the ethics issues in posting this comment?

    Because you've just dragged a giant elephant into the living room.

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  13. #13
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Good lord, the text on the site isn't even approaching basic literacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by writersout
    Writers Out is kin to create a safe and professional environment to it's community of writers and readers and will not tolerate users or members that use bulling methods Writers Out will take the necessary steps and will terminate accounts that will not follow our terms and conditions. Please submit your complain at: bulling@writersout.com
    From Contact Us

    I think this is YADS (Yet Another Display Site) with people at the helm who are more clueless than anything else.

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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Dear Medievalist,

    I absolutely understand and stand behind my words as their terms are as clear as clear can be.

  15. #15
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimstar View Post
    Dear Medievalist,

    I absolutely understand and stand behind my words as their terms are as clear as clear can be.
    That's super. I'm sure you also know, as an attorney, that to claim to be an attorney when one is not is illegal?

    It's always good to be clear about such things.

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  16. #16
    Benefactor Member Manuel Royal's Avatar
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    I'm still not clear on whether there's anything to worry about in the TOS, but the bad grammar certainly gives me pause.

    So, are there a lot of sites like this? On the face of it, it sounds like a potentially good idea.
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  17. #17
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel Royal View Post
    I'm still not clear on whether there's anything to worry about in the TOS, but the bad grammar certainly gives me pause.

    So, are there a lot of sites like this? On the face of it, it sounds like a potentially good idea.
    There are lots and lots and lots.

    They're called Display Sites. Mostly, they're daft. They're based on a bunch of erroneous assumptions about how people find books to read and buy, and how publishers, agents and editors find books.

    Here's some matter-of-fact information about Display Sites and Manuscript Display Sites

    http://howpublishingreallyworks.com/...-display-sites


    http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writ...es/#Manuscript


    http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2006/0...s-writers.html

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  18. #18
    Benefactor Member Manuel Royal's Avatar
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    Asked and answered; thanks!

    ETA: Now that I think of it, I think I still have a membership at Authonomy. Never did anything with it.
    Last edited by Manuel Royal; 06-27-2011 at 11:26 PM.
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  19. #19
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourlittlebees View Post
    This is boilerplate TOS for content-including websites. Check out Facebook's and you'll see one reading much the same way. The non-lawyerese translation is "if you don't want your work duplicated, don't post it online."
    It really is boilerplate; it's from a licensable contract package.

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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Manuel,

    I disagree with everything that Medievalist has said as clearly she or he didn't get what writersout is about.

    None of the site that were listed above are even similar to the website I joined last week in that the writersout website is free and allowed me to upload my blogs and books, sell them and share samples of them for a free download as well as view my profile statistics which shows me how many people are reading and buying each of my item. I use their friend finder free program to invite all of my Facebook and Gmail friends and even posted my Facebook badge. It's all free and wonderful.

    Many site I’ve been on either sell you a service or allow you to sell your books but none of them actually gives you the tools to do that and that’s why I like this site.

  21. #21
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    And your affiliation with them is...?
    Emily Veinglory

  22. #22
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Authonomy is a slightly different beast as HarperCollins editors are reading it.

  23. #23
    Only I Will Remain
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    And your affiliation with them is...?
    +1
    You can go to my site now, I'm more proud of it, lol

    If you want to stay updated on with my blog, you can follow me on Twitter. I post updates there.

  24. #24
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimstar View Post
    Manuel,

    I disagree with everything that Medievalist has said as clearly she or he didn't get what writersout is about.
    I think you're being far too disingenuous here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimstar View Post
    None of the site that were listed above are even similar to the website I joined last week in that the writersout website is free and allowed me to upload my blogs and books, sell them and share samples of them for a free download as well as view my profile statistics which shows me how many people are reading and buying each of my item.
    You didn't even read the links; they're all about display sites. That's exactly what writersout is. There's nothing wrong per se with display sites; it's just that they're mostly pointless.

    No one who matters reads them. They're not harmful, it's just a waste of time, and in many cases, run by people who don't really understand books, readers, publishing, the Web, or how the English language works.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 06-28-2011 at 12:23 AM.

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  25. #25
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimstar View Post
    Manuel,

    I disagree with everything that Medievalist has said as clearly she or he didn't get what writersout is about.

    None of the site that were listed above are even similar to the website I joined last week in that the writersout website is free and allowed me to upload my blogs and books, sell them and share samples of them for a free download as well as view my profile statistics which shows me how many people are reading and buying each of my item. I use their friend finder free program to invite all of my Facebook and Gmail friends and even posted my Facebook badge. It's all free and wonderful.

    Many site I’ve been on either sell you a service or allow you to sell your books but none of them actually gives you the tools to do that and that’s why I like this site.

    Perhaps you've only seen pay sites, but dozens of the free ones exist and have existed. Medievalist knows exactly what she's talking about, and I can assure you she understands what WritersOut is about very well. As do many of us here, because we've seen this exact concept more times than we care to count. The links Medievalist provided do in fact describe websites exactly like WritersOut; you did read the articles linked, right?

    Incidentally, exactly how have any of the things you listed above given you "tools" to sell books? Presumably your Facebook friends would already know about your books, as would you friends you exchange emails with, correct?
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