Preventing copyright violations


#1

I am thinking of posting one of my stories here on Wattpad. Someone has cautioned me that people could take it and post it elsewhere. How do people deal with that?

Also, I have a question about content and tags and a question about using your real name. Where would I ask that? I find it hard to navigate this site.

Thanks for any advice.


#2

In the digital age you have to be wary of that whether you’re a published author or not. I could take a stephen king novel and retype it into wattpad under a different title and no one would be the wiser. Some publishers have bots that crawl the internet for material that matches their database but really you can’t win that war in the end. It’s like putting out a fire with a cup of water.

You can ask away pretty much anywhere here. Most in the forum are really helpful. You can also message me directly on wattpad (same user name) and I’d be happy to answer what I can.


#3

I don’t post publicly anything that I plan to sell. In any form.


#4

If you think this is likely to happen (although honestly, it probably won’t), you could occasionally put phrases from your story in a search engine to see if anything comes up. Thieves might change character names, but they probably won’t reword everything.

Then you report them to whomever runs the site it was posted on. It may or may not get taken down. Not a whole lot you can do about that.

You can also set up an automatic query to search for you and send alerts if anything’s found. Obviously, that’s more technologically involved.


#5

There isn’t really a way to prevent people from ‘stealing’ your story unless you simply don’t share it, ever.
I think it also depends on what your goals are. If you’re just writing for fun and don’t plan to ever publish anything, it’s surely unpleasant to have someone else rip off your work, but it might not hurt you as much as if you had plans to actually publish it.

If you’re seriously planning to publish anything, I’d say only upload first drafts, never the final manuscript, at least not in full.

Also, keep in mind that copyright infringement only really happens to already popular authors as it means that someone uploads their story illegally but doesn’t pretend it’s theirs. Like, if you find copies of Harry Potter on here for example. It hurts the author because they lose revenue.
Plagiarism, on the other hand, is when someone takes someone else’s story and passes it off as their own. This one is much more dangerous and is targeted more at smaller lesser known authors.

So it’s the second instance you want to be wary of.


#6

To be honest, if you post it online it can be stolen. That’s the same for any site like Wattpad, a blog, Amazon, wherever. There’s really no way to stop it except to keep it to yourself 100% of the time.

If it happens, wherever you post it has the original timestamp to prove it’s yours so you can get it taken down provided it’s not just a bot that stole it. So fear of being plagiarized isn’t the reason someone shouldn’t use Wattpad. There are other reasons why Wattpad may or may not be for a person so those are the reasons to give more thought (IE Fear of losing first rights if publishing)


#7

Actually, most people here have had stories stolen and published elsewhere in physical form. I had someone suggest to me the other day to publish my debut novel on Smashwords–that’s like ringing the dinner bell to pirates and book thieves.

I’m not that dumb.


#8

Nonsense. Every word of it.

There are a few people here who have had their work stolen. A very few. I doubt many of those have had their books put into physical form since that costs money. Stealing and posting a digital copy does not.

Smashwords is a fine service. It is a good distributor, and it provides indie services. I, personally, wouldn’t recommend their indie “packages,” but I don’t actually recommend those anywhere because they’re ultimately more expensive than hiring freelancers.

Pirating is an issue all authors deal with, period. The only way to avoid it is not to publish or post your work. That doesn’t mean you should roll over and accept it blindly, but nor should it keep you from publishing.


#9

Completely false and yet again you’re making stuff up. There are millions of stories on Wattpad, if most were stolen and published elsewhere like you are claiming, Amazon would be swamped in a day. Have a few people encountered such an issue? Yes. But they are probably less than 1% of all stories on Wattpad. Less than 1% does not equal “most”.

What a load of rubbish. Amazon is the main source of files for pirates, because they can buy, download the file and return for a refund. I’ve not heard of any issues with Smashwords in the author groups I’m in. I have heard of multiple problems with Amazon and pirates, especially for authors in KU who find their books offered elsewhere.


#10

What do you mean by “losing first rights”?


#11

Good policy. I doubt I would want to sell mine, they aren’t that good.


#12

Thanks. I’m just not sure if it’s allowed, as it involves fetishes.


#13

You have various “rights” to your work. Digital rights. Audio rights. Print rights. Etc. When you sign a contract with a publisher, you’re signing over certain rights. Like the right to publish your book in print in North America.

First Rights is another right. The first time your story is published, the first rights are gone. Magazines typically want First Rights (they want to be the first to publish it).


#14

I’m interested to know where you get your information from. Perhaps in future posts it’d be useful for you to post links to where you find your info so people who’re interested in finding out more can use that information so they’re fully informed about all aspects of the industry.

In this instance though I would note that you’re incorrect in your statement. A tiny, tiny minority of writers have their works fully plagiarised. Of those who do, they’re usually posted in electronic form as that tends to be how people can most easily copy and transmit content.

And Smashwords as a platform has a good reputation to my knowledge and is certainly no worse than posting on Amazon, something that I understand you have done.


#15

Or in the words of Prof Wikipedia, [citation needed] :wink:


#16

Welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

The people file a DMCA complaint. Wattpad takes copyright infringement seriously. You can read this article for more info- https://support.wattpad.com/hc/en-us/articles/204471770-Reporting-Copyright-Infringement

You can ask in this thread-

You can browse through this thread for more info-

Adding my two cents here. When you publish your work online, you are taking a gamble. A risk. There will always be someone who’d try to steal your work. And it’s not limited to Wattpad alone. The fear of infringement/stealing shouldn’t deter you from posting your work or following your passion of writing.
Good luck with your story :slight_smile:


#17

New writers are often concerned with their stories being “stolen” but the reality is (a) it happens very rarely and (b) obscurity is a much bigger problem than copyright violation.

Once you put your work “out in the world” - whether that be in print or online (although online is easier) it has the potential to be pirated or stolen by someone who republishes it. But the reality is such things don’t happen mainly because most work isn’t worth stealing ;-). If it was stolen you’d never know because it would sell poorly and the chances of you finding it would literally be a needle in a haystack, but since it’s not selling, it’s like the tree in the forest that doesn’t have anyone to hear it.

Now, if your book was stolen and it DID become a huge success, then ka-ching. You hire a lawyer you sue their asses off, you make a lot of publicity and you’ll get a big paycheck. It’s really easy to prove in court that the work was yours just by drafts, and emails and blog posts of what you were working on.

One thing I should point out…ideas CANNOT be copyrighted. You can have two authors write two separate books from the same concept and both can be copyrighted and sold and there is no harm or foul. Why? Because ideas are a dime a dozen but it’s the execution of those ideas that really matter, and no one can copy your “execution” (your words).

I hope this helps.


#18

Ah, no. Because Stephen King is so famous, and so well read it would be discovered very quickly, you’d be sued, and your life would spiral downhill. Stealing a famous work gets caught. Stealing a work that is obscure - you could probably get away with.

Such bots are for finding pirating sites, so they can issue DCMA takedown notices. And, yeah, I’d equate it to wack-a-mole. You get the book taken down in one place, it pops up somewhere else. In many ways, if your book is being pirated you’ve “made it.” Because books that aren’t popular aren’t worth someone’s time to steal.


#19

Yes, the only way to 100% guarantee that something isn’t used by someone else (either pirated or re-published) is to never let it out go beyond your own computer.


#20

You can read Michael’s post here-