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Thread: My work is now their property?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    13

    My work is now their property?

    I have one question. Several months ago I sent my poem to a very world known card company. (I won't say the name) The company sent me a letter about a month ago saying that they do not accept submissions of creative suggestions, ideas, notes drawings, concepts, or other information (my work was considered to be the other information) If you send us the Information despite our request that you not do so, the Information shall be deemed, and shall remain, the property of the company. None of the information shall be subject to any obligation of confidentiality on the part of the company and the company shall not be liable or owe any compensation for use or disclosure of the Information, other than such liability as arises out of the copyright or patent laws of the United States.
    Is it just me or did they steal my work? I am very upset with this company. What they did can not be legal. My fiancee looked at the letter and said that
    the letter was copied. He said I must not be the only one that the company has done this to. What should I do?

  2. #2
    (not his real name)
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    Not a lawyer or anything, but I'm thinking you're overlooking the statement that the company shall not be liable "other than such liability as arises out of the copyright or patent laws of the United States." So they're specifically accepting liability for copyright violations.

    I suspect the clause you mention essentially means: "hey, if the cleaning lady picks your poem out of our trash can, don't blame us." Or, more to the point: "if someone, somewhere, publishes something that sounds vaguely like your work, don't bother suing us."

    Again, not a lawyer, etc.

  3. #3
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    *scratches head*

    I'm woefully behind in my caffeine intake, but this doesn't seem to be working for me.

    first, did you ever see your poem published?
    second, did you read the submission guidelines (if there were any) before sending in your poem?
    third, the idea that companies steal work is highly overrated - it's more of an urban myth than anything else.

    *wanders off*

  4. #4
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    2,090
    They could be saying that if you send them an idea, and it duplicates or nearly duplicates something one of their own creative people came up with, they don't owe you royalties on it.

    But they don't own your work. They can't. They haven't bought it from you.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  5. #5
    Wibbly-Wobbly. Timey-Wimey.
    Join Date
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    Portland, Oregon
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    I'm also going to side with all these guesses, specifically because the statement occurs in tandem with an anti-unsolicited-submission policy. I've seen ones like that before in similar contexts.

    It's so if you sent them two lines about why birthdays were like elephants, and someone employed by their own company comes up individually with something about why elephants are like birthdays next month, you don't get to sue.

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