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Passions in Poetry

Copyright Laws and The Internet

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merlynh
Member
since 09-26-1999
Posts 444
deer park, wa


0 posted 12-03-1999 03:40 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

Copyrights Laws And The Internet

Boo hoo, oh my... What am I going to do? Might as well take my friend Mr. Pencil and poke him in my eye. Oh, your just a big baby you phony guy, that's what your going to say. Well, it hurts, my preious little children I've created have been taken away from me. That's right! Because I've posted them on line. Oh, boo hoo. Mr. Copyright Office told me so. I just give them away. I know they're still mine, they've just got on with their lives. Well, Mr. Pencil you ready? I want to see the light. This isn't going to be easy and don't think I'm doing this because of you. Writing has drove me to this and playing games with my mind. If I chicken out and can't push it all the way to my brain, at least I'll get lead posioning. Darn! Now I can't open my eye, because your watching. Please turn away for a minute. Will you? Okay here I go. Ahhhhh.... Oh... it.... hurts! Okay you can turn around and look now. I know what your thinking--he's chicken or just fooling around because he didn't do it. Well, I may be upset but am not crazy. So you think I don't have the guts? Well, I show you! Here! Take a pencil for yourself and we'll do it together. Hold it up to your eye. On the count of three we both shove-um in at the same time. One...two...three. What are you standing there for? Do it! Think I wont do it too, uh? To tell you the truth, I really think it's a stupid idea. I just wanted to see if someone else was as upset as me about copyrights and the Internet. That's why I wrote this. To get it off my chest and stop worring. Have you read about the Internet and copyright laws? You don't care? You know I think you just might be right. I'm going to keep writing and the world can go to hell. If us writers can't make a living from writing. We'll all go and sell pencils with a statement on them that says. "Insert deep to see the light."


By Merlyn Hearn
Feel free to copy and paste and pass it around
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


1 posted 12-03-1999 07:08 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

uh?

merlynh
Member
since 09-26-1999
Posts 444
deer park, wa


2 posted 12-03-1999 08:28 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

Ron, I suggest you type "Internet Copyright Laws in a search engine, and read how the Internet is changing copyright laws. When a writer does post anything on the web how they maybe giving up some or all their rights.
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


3 posted 12-03-1999 09:21 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

If you can point me to any URL saying that, I'll take a look at it. It's certainly not what any of the copyright laws seems to infer.

The only way to lose your copyright is to overtly declare your work to be in the public domain or - over a fairly lengthy period of time (years) - allow it to be used as if it were in the public domain, which is then interpreted as tacit permission. Contrary to what you seem to be suggesting, virtually every copyright case that goes before the courts has been decided in the author's favor - they durn near bend over backwards, in fact, to protect the author.

But, as I said, if you can point me to something suggesting otherwise...

doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


4 posted 12-03-1999 11:16 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

I posted a topic in Questions & Answers forum several days ago about the same issue Merlyn is bringing up. The issue I'm concerned with is giving up your "first rights" to publishing.... by posting or "publishing" your work online in a forum or in an e-zine.

I was VERY surprised I got so little response to this and therefore posted another topic in the Alley so I could hopefully get someone's attention. (I assumed the reason i had little response was because the Q&A forum is not frequented by many regulars.) I directed people to my original post in the Q&A forum which makes reference to TWO websites that deal with the "first rights" and copyright issues as relative to electronic posting.

I was hoping you, Ron, would have noticed my post already in order to offer some of your insight or knowledge about this.

Again, I have posted 2 links over in the Q&A forum which deal with these issues as the topic of copyright and especially the author losing their "first rights" to their work in regards to electronic media has recently come to my attention.

Thanks for going over there and checking it out, Ron.

And Merlyn, as usual, you certainly have a clever way of presenting things! LOL... you have quite the imaginative writing style!

-dp
merlynh
Member
since 09-26-1999
Posts 444
deer park, wa


5 posted 12-04-1999 08:29 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

Thanks Doreen. All this copyright laws and the internet has upset me very much, because I've been working so hard to get published. But I don't think it's worth the worry. So I wanted to share what I wrote with an effort to overcome the head trip it's playing with me, as I'm sure it is with others.

Ron I know that the copyright laws will come out in the long run for Authors. But in some cases it isn't.

'The statement you made about authors work and public domain or - over a fairly lengthy period of time (years) - allow it to be used as if it were in the public domain.'

This is the problem,if someone has posted something on line it becomes public record, in some cases for some length of time. This is how publishing editors look at it and concider anything posted on line as being pulished once all ready.
Ron
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since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


6 posted 12-04-1999 09:39 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Doreen, I saw your original thread but didn't respond because I really had nothing to add to what I've said in the past, merely a reiteration of what is posted in the FAQ at the main site.

Let me prelude with the usual - I ain't no lawyer and everything I say should be read with that in mind.

merlynh, I won't say you're talking about apples and oranges, but I definitely think you're talking about Washington versus Michigan apples! In other words - two very different things.

Copyright laws are clear. As of April 1, 1989, the instant you create something you own the copyright to it. A copyright symbol or declaration matters very little. You can post it at a thousand and one Internet sites, print copies and hand them out on a street corner - and the copyright is still yours, until and unless you explicitly place the work in the public domain. The only possible ambiguity you'll ever encounter is if another individual tries to claim they wrote the work before you did - and posting it on the Internet with a clear date can only help your case in matters like that. That's the law, both in the United States and (via treaties established at the Berne Convention) largely throughout the world.

First Rights, First North American Rights, Serial Rights, International Rights, Magazine Rights, Anthology Rights, Electronic Publication Rights - ad infinitum - have little to do with either the law or copyrights. Those are contractual terms. Several decades ago (say 30 or 40 years), when you sold a poem, story or article you were often literally selling (transferring) your copyright to the publisher. With the exception of reporters and newspapers, that is no longer true. Instead, they pay you for certain publication rights to your work, while you retain the copyright. And as in any licensing situation, those rights are both negotiable and subject to contractual interpretations.

What is a copyright? Legal intellectual protection - stronger and better protection than either patents or trademarks. What is First Rights? Anything the contract wants to say they are!

Let me put it in a different way, one that will perhaps shed more light on publication rights. There isn't a professional writer in the world that pays five to ten percent of his income to an agent because the agent is a good salesman. Publishers don't buy novels and editors don't buy poems because some sweet-talking agent took them to lunch and convinced them the work was good. They buy because the work IS good! So how does the agent earn their percentage if not through selling? By negotiating publication rights that are in the best interest of the author! That's their real job. They take the "standard" publishing contract and chop it into little pieces, retaining the UK rights 'cause they know another publisher over there, getting more money for the Anthology rights 'cause they're sure your poem or story is good enough to be included in such-and-such annual - generally just trying to negotiate you (and them) the best possible deal.

So what's it all mean? It means your copyright is safe! It's yours! It today's world scheme it would almost take an act of Congress to take it away from you against your will. Your Publication Rights, on the other hand, aren't even defined, except in the vaguest sense, until you get ready to sign a contract.
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


7 posted 12-05-1999 01:05 AM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

Well, HI, Ron! Glad to see this subject has gotten your attention... I finally found this over here.... checked my own thread a coupla thymes within the past couple of days.

I had asked about "first rights" and you said, "

First Rights, First North American Rights, Serial Rights, International Rights, Magazine Rights, Anthology Rights, Electronic Publication Rights - ad infinitum - have little to do with either the law or copyrights. Those are contractual terms"....

and that's exactly my point.... imagine this .......(told ya I wrote fiction... hehehe... never posted my story in fiction workshop yet, but imagine this....)


-------------------------------------------------

There is a publisher. He may publish books, magazines, articles, poetry, weather reports.... Let's say I write an article. Or... I write a poem... Or... I write a weather report. And, then I post it on the internet on a bulletin board or in an e-zine, or even on my own website.
10 years later, I see that there may be a market for that silly article I wrote about lady's hosiery in Macy's and how the price is exhorbitant in comparison with the "better" product at Lord & Taylor. As a matter of fact, my sister recommends that I submit my silly article to this high-paying periodical and I agree to do it and so I do.

The phone rings several times a couple of weeks after FedEx came to pick my manuscript and it's the publisher! I'm elated! Maybe he wants to publish the hosiery article I sent him!

I pick up the phone...

"Hello?"

"Hello, this is the famous periodical that you sent your hosiery comparison shopping article to".

"Yes?. Ummm... well... ok... Hi! Glad you called. I wrote an article and sent it to you. Did you get it?"

"Yes. Don't YOU get it? You are the proud winner of PUBLICATION! We want to publish your article and we want to pay you about 1/2 million dollars!"

"Really?"

"Yes, Ma'am!! Would I kid you about 1/2 million dollars?"

"Eh... umm... well... I guess not".

"There's only ONE stipulation ~

"Ok, what is it?"

"Have you ever published this article before?"

"NO! ... hehehe... hahaha... Well... I happened to post it on an internet bulletin board and those bulletin board posters seemed to like it! Matter of fact, I printed out some of the responses. Check this out!"..... *gets up... goes to the bureau... digs under jeans and silk shirts....*

I tell him to hold on, then scan the document into my computer and sent it to him as a .jpg file. I go back to the phone. "I sent it to you", I say.

several minutes pass and then.....


"I'm sorry Ma'am. Now that you show this to me, I recognize it! We can't publish this article It's already been published! We only deal with unpublished material. Nice work, though. "

"It's never been published, I'm telling you!


----------
A half a million later....LOL.... thanks for understanding my point..... just wanted to say ....that frankly, I was a bit dismayed that merlyn got a bigger audience than me.....boo-hoo... after all, I posted this question first!! Boys get all the attention I guess... (hiding her head under her skirt).
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


8 posted 12-05-1999 01:12 AM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

http://www.sfwa.org/beware/electronic.html and http://www.inkspot.com/feature/epublish.html.

here are the pages I posted before that deal with this in case anybody missed them

dp
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
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9 posted 12-05-1999 09:12 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Imagine, Doreen, that your half-million dollar article was actually written by Stephen King and handled through BNYC Agency - do you still think a publisher is going to turn it down because it was posted on King's web site? No. Why not? Because they really want it and know it will make them money! Okay, you and I don't have the same negotiating power Stephen King does, but my point is that it is nonetheless about negotiating power. And if your article is good and the publisher is convinced it will make them money, you have a lot more negotiating power than you might imagine!

I'm sure there are going to be some publishers who lump Electronic and First Rights together, just as there are publishers who refuse to accept cross-genre novels as too difficult to market. But the industry is probably one of the most highly competitive ones in history and someone is going to publish a book if it will make them money. That's exactly why publishers, in the past forty years, have granted writers and agents more and more latitude in negotiating Rights - 'cause they know if they don't, another publisher will.

Incidentally, your second link above is dead. But there's another article at inkspot here where five people are interviewed about their efforts to self-publish on the web - and two of those five have since sold their book to publishers.

(p.s. merlynh's post was really quite different than yours, and it was that difference that forced me to respond. You asked "What color is the grass?" An important question, but I'm sure there are some gardeners out there better qualified than I to answer it. merlynh, on the other hand, rather strongly suggested the grass was purple…)
Innocent_Bystander
Junior Member
since 12-05-1999
Posts 15


10 posted 12-06-1999 04:30 PM       View Profile for Innocent_Bystander   Email Innocent_Bystander   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Innocent_Bystander

Umm hi,
I really am thankful for the links and I hope that they don't mess with the copyright laws, and thats all I gotta say about that.


 Any man can make a baby, But only a real man can take care of his children. ~Unknown~
merlynh
Member
since 09-26-1999
Posts 444
deer park, wa


11 posted 12-08-1999 02:18 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

I've really seen the light.  Thanks Ron.  I didn't really understand alot of what was going on. So I went to http://netpoets.com/cgi/pip/Ultimate.cgi?action=agree

Cleared up a lot of my feeling and misunderstandings about what you had to say. About "Legal Stuff"

I feel everyone should read it very carefully.
 
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