View Full Version : Downloading stories from AW (or any other forum)

03-10-2007, 06:25 AM
Am I correct in thinking that downloading a story posted online here to the hard drove of your computer would be a breach of copyright?

I ask because someone has told me they've downloaded and saved a copy of a story I posted here. I'm a little nervous about it, but not sure what my rights are.

Rolling Thunder
03-10-2007, 06:33 AM
Yep, if you didn't give permission it's a big no-no.

But....that being said, your original posting date sets precedence. Find that story published somewhere and you have a plagiarism suit. Plus, that person's name will end up in all the slushpiles, once word gets around.

03-10-2007, 06:41 AM
I honestly don't think they're likely to try to publish it - but I did want to know where I stand legally. Thanks Rllg.

Rolling Thunder
03-10-2007, 06:44 AM
If you're uncomfortable about it, ask the person to delete it. Any writer here should know better. If they don't, they're going to find out how bumpy the road is if their name ever makes the rounds.

Sorry to hear about this situation, Cath. It shows a lack of professionalism and ethics, on that persons part.

03-10-2007, 10:04 AM
I just really liked the story! Gawd! Everyone on this forum hates me.

I'm going to expose you all on my blog.

03-10-2007, 03:56 PM
Way back when I copied a story into Word on my computer so I could critique it (couldn't figure out how to get all the commenty type things I wanted in the provided window on SYW). But when I took the piece back to SYW with the comments, I got rid of it on my computer. I suspect I'm not the only one who's done that. I've also copied entire threads of comments on my posts for critique back to my computer so I had the comments (last summer after the June 1 problem with the boards). But Cath has brought up a very interesting point - even though SYW is password protected there's nothing to prevent people from copying things. That's a bit scary, especially on short, complete works (no way anyone could copy one post and reproduce a novel.) Puma

03-10-2007, 04:28 PM
I'm not sure that it would be a violation of copyright if it was done solely for their own use. First, I don't think there's a notice anywhere that says downloading is prohibited, and secondly, there is "fair use" of copyright material. I can go into a library and legally copy pages out of, say, Stephen King's book On Writing or any other book.

Of course, if they tried to do anything with it, publish it or sell it, then that would certainly be a violation.

I'm no legal expert however.

03-10-2007, 05:12 PM
I'm with alleycat on this one. I think it comes under "fair use" as long as they don't send it to anyone else or make more than the one copy of it.

Keep in mind that whenever you view a page using your browser, it downloads all the page elements to your computer and sticks them in cache, so a copy has already been made to the computer of anyone who's viewed the story. Cache gets cleared periodically, so it probably won't be there permanently, but if someone makes a backup of the cached files, it will be on the backup.

03-10-2007, 06:47 PM
I'm in the "Eh, so what?" camp. Someone wants to download something I've posted in SYW to their PC so they can read it offline later, fine by me, heck I do this all the time. Whoa, no need to get paranoid, I have no intention of ever ripping anyone off, and I'm trusting you wonderful folks to give me the same consideration. <glares suspiciously> :)

Over the years I've met quite a few interesting writerly types online -- from the guy who threatened to steal something I'd posted, finish it and sell it before I could (I hope he has more luck with the ending than I'm having) -- to the guy who casually posted a story starring my characters and setting (and who kindly gave me permission to use and rewrite any of his material any time I liked, which he believed was a fair swap).

But these are extreme examples. Fact is, these nutjobs just don't have enough steam power to get anywhere with your material or their own. If you want feedback then you have to take the one-in-a-million risk of meeting the loony tunes, that's just how it works.


Rolling Thunder
03-10-2007, 07:03 PM
'm n th "h, s wht?" cmp. Smn wnts t d wnl d s m th ng 'v p st d n S W t th r PC s th c n r d t ffl n l t r, f n b m , h ck d th s ll th t m . Wh , n n d t g t p r n d, h v n nt nt n f v r r pp ng n n ff, nd 'm tr st ng w nd rf l f lks t g v m th s m c ns d r t n. <gl r s s sp c sl > :)

v r th rs 'v m t q t f w nt r st ng wr t rl t p s nl n -- fr m th g wh thr t n d t st l s m th ng 'd p st d, f n sh t nd s ll t b f r c ld ( h p h h s m r l ck w th th nd ng th n 'm h v ng) -- t th g wh c s ll p st d st r st rr ng m ch r ct rs nd s tt ng ( nd wh k ndl g v m p rm ss n t s nd r wr t n f h s m t r l n t m l k d, wh ch h b l v d w s f r sw p).

B t th s r xtr m x mpl s. F ct s, th s n tj bs j st d n't h v n gh st m p w r t g t n wh r w th r m t r l r th r wn. f w nt f db ck th n h v t t k th n - n- -m ll n r sk f m t ng th l n t n s, th t's j st h w t w rks.


*steals all Derek's vowels, while noone is watching.*

03-10-2007, 07:10 PM
S n f b tch!


03-10-2007, 07:23 PM
*steals all Derek's vowels, while noone is watching.*
Someone has way too much time on his hands . . .

03-10-2007, 07:42 PM
My ears thank you, RT!

The only time anyone wanted something of mine was when I posted in the "Book Title & Summary" thread in the writing exercises forum.

The book title was "Sunflower Seeds and Leg o Lamb". The "book" was a collection of 1001 recipes for sunflower seeds and one unusual and possibly felonious use for a frozen leg o lamb.

She said she had turned it into a short story and her foreign agent liked it.

I'm still waiting for the beer she promised if it sold. :e2drunk:

Rolling Thunder
03-10-2007, 07:44 PM
15 seconds tops, AlleyCat, using replace function *space* for a, e, i ,o, u, y. :D

03-10-2007, 08:02 PM
I'm a rarity--a writer whose work shared for critique was stolen and sold (seven copies for a whopping $35 total).

Yes, that's actionable violation of copyright, but attorney's fees are going to top $35. Mine just wrote a letter telling the thief to knock it off and send me the $35. She did knock it off, but I'm still waiting on the money.

So yes, it happens that work posted for critique is copied for nefarious purposes, but so rarely that I've yet to meet (in person or online) another writer whose work was stolen and sold.

Maryn, who looks at the stolen story and sees things she'd change before attempting to sell it now

03-10-2007, 08:12 PM
Any time you offer your written work to someone other than yourself, you take a risk. Whether it is a photocopy passed around for a college crit group, a story posted online to a forum like this, or an essay posted on your blog. Once it's out there, it's open to people who like to steal. You can't avoid it unless you keep your words locked away on your personal PC and never show them to anyone.

Personally? If I knew that a fellow AW member had copied a story I posted, I would be flattered. Flattered that they liked my writing enough to want to read it again.

Of course, if I ever found out they put their name on it and sold it, I'd hit them like a ton of bricks. ;)

03-11-2007, 05:16 AM
I admit I'm a little paranoid in this regard. I never post my work on the web. I've had contracts that state the author warrants that the work, or any part of the work, etc. has never been published in any format etc. and I worry that a person could get into hot water with their agent or publisher that way.

Soccer Mom
03-11-2007, 06:36 AM
I do save crits for frequent crit partners. And one of them did have a computer malfunction and I was able to send her back her work. But I don't keep them forever. Just while beta partner is working on his or her ms. When they're done polishing it, I delete it.