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Posting stories by other authors

joyR

Ok, a reality check please, before I go nuclear on another site.

What I'm asking for is your opinion regarding a person posting stories written by someone other than themselves, and crediting the author, but without permission to post them.

I believe it is wrong and a site if informed, should remove the post, your thoughts please.

Ernest Bywater

That's a copyright violation and against the law as well as being unethical.

Switch Blayde

@joyR

I believe it is wrong and a site if informed, should remove the post, your thoughts please.


It is wrong. And the webmaster should delete it when requested.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

It is wrong. And the webmaster should delete it when requested.


And if a site make a habit of ignoring such requests, the site owners can themselves become liable for copyright infringement.

It should be noted that in the US, to have any legal effect, the take down request must come from the copyright owner and/or an authorized agent (lawyer for example) of the copyright owner.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

It should be noted that in the US, to have any legal effect, the take down request must come from the copyright owner and/or an authorized agent (lawyer for example) of the copyright owner.


True for a proper notice requiring legal action, but anyone can raise their concerns with the site management so they can look into the matter.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@joyR

I don't know if you're talking about somebody here on SOL or somewhere else.

However, I don't usually take a complaints seriously, unless coming from the author of the work.

I've received countless complaints about things like that, and one time made the mistake of taking the complaint seriously and taking down a bunch of stories, until the original author complained that he didn't request the take down.

There are a lot of attempts to get things removed from the site for nefarious reasons.

So, unless the complainer is the author him/herself, then I don't take such complaints seriously, especially if the author has proper credit in the posting here.

After running SOL for more than twenty years now, I've seen a lot of stuff that people attempt for whatever reason.

One time an author trusted his girlfriend with his password here, (supposedly so that she can use the premier level stuff) and she actually sent a take down request that I couldn't doubt and removed the stories, to the surprise of the author.

So, if anybody has issues with stories posted on the site, ask the original author contact me about it.

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

I don't know if you're talking about somebody here on SOL or somewhere else.


Sorry, I presumed the first line of my post made it clear the issue is on another site. I posted here to ensure I wasn't going nuclear without cause.

Given that in the case in point a poster is actually stating the story isn't his, credits the author, and in some cases (he has posted a number of stories) even states which site he copied it from. It seems to me very clear in terms of a copyright infringement.

Out of interest, what would you do if given that situation?

I can understand the reasons you have given for taking no action unless the original author contacts you, it's just a pity that means any low life can take advantage of works by deceased or untraceable authors.

zellus
Updated:

@joyR


I can understand the reasons you have given for taking no action unless the original author contacts you, it's just a pity that means any low life can take advantage of works by deceased or untraceable authors.


Isn't that how large cooperation's like YouTube or Amazon handles copyright complaints? Although they also allows a legal representative filing the complaint, the owner of the work, must be the one who initiated the process.

Edit: Copyright violation is an civil and not an criminal offence.(If I remember correctly)

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@joyR

Out of interest, what would you do if given that situation?


I usually try to contact the original author and seek consent. But if it's impossible to reach the original author then I don't worry about it much.

I can understand the reasons you have given for taking no action unless the original author contacts you, it's just a pity that means any low life can take advantage of works by deceased or untraceable authors.


This is where we differ in opinion. I know I'm biased as a site owner, but hear me out.

If a person/author puts their work on the internet on a free site and then disappears forever to never be heard from again, then is it really so bad that their work gets shared around? Wasn't the original purpose of the author to share their work and have it read, possibly as widely as possible? If the original site where the author posted their stories goes kaput, isn't it counter to the author's wish that their works also disappear never to be read again? Wouldn't be a shame and a loss for humanity that some artistic works just disappeared for no good reason other than a site owner losing interest in keeping it up and paying for it and nobody is allowed to take over? I know some would be sad if they knew that the site they posted their stories on disappeared along with their works. I heard from an author in the past who used to post on the old whiteshadow site, he was devastated that it was taken down and his stories weren't available anymore as he lost his own copies of them. He was ecstatic to know that I had an archive of the site and gave him his stories and in turn he posted them quickly to SOL.

As a site owner, I've had deep discussions with many authors. Few (minority actually) feel strongly about controlling every aspect of their stories and where they appear. Those who hold those positions have their own reasons why they do and I'm not talking about those who sell their stories on self publishing sites. But the majority care about being read. Most want as many readers as possible while given proper credit for the works they created. If an author posts on SOL or some other site where they don't get paid, does it matter really if their work gets posted at another free site with or without their explicit/written consent?

Of course, this is completely different from the case where some asshole downloads the work and posts it somewhere else under their name for sales and profit. And of course, I always respect an author's wishes if they made it clear that they want their works removed from SOL had somebody else posted them without their consent.

Ernest Bywater

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Of course, this is completely different from the case where some asshole downloads the work and posts it somewhere else under their name for sales and profit.


I totally agree with this view.

I post all of my stories on SoL (and the sister sites where appropriate) for free while I also sell them through www.lulu.com - I'm also very picky about how they display, Lazeez will tell you about how often I reload something that didn't display right. However, while I will readily give permission for various people to use my stories in their magazines etc. I seriously object to sites where they charge for membership to read any full story stealing my stories or allowing others to post them. If they operate in the same way as SoL I've no problems with them asking me for approval to post the stories, but where I've found they require a payment to read the full story I object.

Within the above there are sites that operate like SoL where you can have access to the full story with a free account which I don't use because of past issues with the site management. Two sites often mentioned in the forum are no longer allowed to have my stories because they objected to persons under 18 years of age even when they were not involved in any sexual activity. Heck, one site rejected a no sex story because a central character was 16 years old due to a blanket site rule of no one under 18. In those cases I pulled my stories and have not been back to them.

I have heard of some people posting my stories at other sites without permission and when I've checked they didn't have the full story as they were using it to get readers in.

joyR
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)


This is where we differ in opinion. I know I'm biased as a site owner, but hear me out.


What you state does make perfect sense and obviously provides a workable policy.

What is also does is ignore the tenants of copyright. A law that is frequently flouted is weakened, so when copyright is breached an argument could be made to the effect that, "everyone else does it, so why not me?"

I suppose the bottom line is money, where a corporation owns copyright they defend it, music industry for example, but a story posted to a free site, whilst theoretically enjoying the same protections, in reality isn't protected at all.

That said I can't fault your logic or approach, only mourn the loss of another law subverted by default.

What I would also like to do is thank you for your frank and honest response, something that we have come to expect here but is very sadly lacking elsewhere. So thank you.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@joyR

What is also does is ignore the tenants of copyright. A law that is frequently flouted is weakened, so when copyright is breached an argument could be made to the effect that, "everyone else does it, so why not me?"


We have a somewhat different view of the law.

I never consider laws to be self-evident, and absolute rules that must be obeyed at all cost all the time.

Laws were/are created to help regulate contentious human interactions. Their enforcement should be done when needed, not absolutely all the time.

The law says that you stop at a red light. But, if you're on an intersection at 3am and the roads are empty and you're 100% sure that there are no cars coming from the other side because you can clearly see the other side. Does it make sense to wait however long it takes for the light to turn green? or would you stop and make sure nobody is coming and it's safe to drive on and then you would go through the red light?

When nobody is getting hurt by an action, enforcing a law is silly. And believe me, I have a whole bunch of opinions about laws that don't help protect anybody and are only created to give more power to certain people to use when they see fit. (Example our Canadian child-porn law that makes written words as bad as actual pictures and movies showing actual kids being abused. We have an actual, enforceable law that defends and protects fictional characters from fictional perpetrators of fictional crimes!)

Copyright law is the same thing to me. If nobody is getting hurt by the redistribution of something, then it's fine. Copyright laws were created to give the necessary legal tools to those who need them (like authors) to use when they need them. So if somebody steals your work you have the legal recourse if you choose. You're not helpless and the courts are obligated to restore your right.

But, if you're not there anymore, or don't really care about that right, why is it somebody's responsibility to uphold a law that won't help you?

richardshagrin

I enjoyed the stories by Ben Franklin. I even reviewed one. On April First. I doubt he is going to object having them posted. Since the author's page has an email address he probably could send you an email if he did.

Ross at Play

@joyR

May I suggest you that you first inform the offending sites of what is happening and state they are legally and ethically obliged to remove the stories.

Then go nuclear if they don't.

Switch Blayde

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

If an author posts on SOL or some other site where they don't get paid, does it matter really if their work gets posted at another free site with or without their explicit/written consent?


Yes. In the past, several of my stories were stolen and put on Literotica. Some with me as the author and some with the name of the person stealing it. I was not happy and asked the webmaster to take them down (which they did). If I wanted the stories on Literotica I would have posted them there.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Michael Loucks

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

If an author posts on SOL or some other site where they don't get paid, does it matter really if their work gets posted at another free site with or without their explicit/written consent?


I think I'd agree with this, with the caveat that if the purpose of taking the story is to charge for it, I'd object. That said, I have no problem at all with something like SOL where the story is available for free, but there are enhanced features for paying members.

And although it's not needed because of the author agreement, you have my explicit consent to keep all my AWLL stuff in perpetuity. I would like it to always remain free, but five years after my demise, timely or untimely, it's unlikely I'll care. :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

In the past, several of my stories were stolen and put on Literotica. Some with me as the author and some with the name of the person stealing it. I was not happy and asked the webmaster to take them down (which they did).


One of my SOL stories was stolen and posted on Literotica under the thief's pen-name. I asked for it to be taking down but AFAIK, it's still there.

AJ

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@awnlee jawking

I asked for it to be taking down but AFAIK, it's still there :(


There are a (growing) number of sites that don't give an aerial copulation about author's requests to take down stolen stories or plagiarism in general. Most simply ignore the issue. It's only going to get worse.

Some authors include a copyright notice that specifically state their works should not be posted elsewhere, these notices are routinely ignored. Granted others state their stories can be posted to any free site, or free part of a pay site. At least their intent is clear and permission granted.

It would be nice to think that both are respected, but sadly that isn't the case.

And no, this isn't intended as a pop at Lazeez, he has been open and honest, whilst I may not agree with his policy, I do support the spirit in which he applies it. That said, I'm out, I don't see the value in raking this over further.

Thanks to those who expressed opinions, I will act accordingly in dealing with the site in question. (Not SoL)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@joyR

Out of interest, what would you do if given that situation?

It depends. If the authors are dead, or no longer active, and have no heirs managing their copyrights, then there little you can do. But if they're still living, I'd send the original authors a warning, so they can handle the matter themselves.

That's happened many times here. Anytime anyone does a Google search, and discovers their work being peddled by someone else, the entire SOL community checks to see if they've been targeted to, and each sends their own complaints.

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

I think I'd agree with this, with the caveat that if the purpose of taking the story is to charge for it, I'd object. That said, I have no problem at all with something like SOL where the story is available for free, but there are enhanced features for paying members.

Except … there's a specific segment of copyright law which specifically guards against this. It's the penalty phase, as it addresses when someone gives your story away for free, then thus diminishes how much you as the original author, can earn. They never actually stole anything from you, but they've undermined your ability to earn money from your work.

Unfortunately, the only redress (filing a formal copyright for each book/version) requires paying an additional $57 per usage, which for most of us is fairly prohibitive, and we're unlikely to ever recover that upfront expense from those taking advantage of this particular loophole.

And I hate to say it, but webmasters are often the worst offenders in this case, as they'll start a fledgling website with little content, steal a BUNCH, while highlighting the fact they have numerous well-known and respected authors, and by the time an author learns of it and files a take-down notice, the damage has already been done. That's a akin to politicians constantly running popular songs in their ads, without paying for them or getting proper authorization, and when the artists object to the misuse, they politicians just say 'Oh yeah? Just try to stop me!'

In those situations, there are really very few legal remedies, and these are a widespread but largely unreported form of copyright theft (proper attribution but no attempt to ask permission before using a word for free).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@joyR

That said, I'm out, I don't see the value in raking this over further.

Once again, your best option is to notify the author in question, if you're even able to. Beyond that, you're right. There's really little you or anyone else can do about these abuses—which is why they're so common!

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@Crumbly Writer

That said, I'm out, I don't see the value in raking this over further.


I was referring to this thread, not my actions elsewhere.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Except … there's a specific segment of copyright law which specifically guards against this. It's the penalty phase, as it addresses when someone gives your story away for free, then thus diminishes how much you as the original author, can earn. They never actually stole anything from you, but they've undermined your ability to earn money from your work.


Are you referring to statutory damages? That's the only thing registration in the US will get you.

But your description of the conditions is flat wrong. If you registered the copyright, statutory damages are available in all copyright cases.

Registered or not, actual damages are available in all copyright cases.

When registered, you have the choice between statutory and actual damages in all cases. However, unless dealing with a commercial scale pirate, statutory damages are almost certain to be higher than actual damages.

The problem becomes when the original author made the story available for free on-line, actual damages become $0.00.

joyR

Be warned, this is a rant...!!!

So, there is a site that people post stories on.

The site actively prohibits authors from including a copyright notice with their story.

The site (staff?) then post selected stories to another site they operate, without notice or permission.

The second site actually has the gall to include a notice that any story posted to the first site, asstr etc is public domain and they can steal it without the authors permission. (Ok my words not theirs, they didn't say 'steal')

To add insult to injury the second site also publishes certain stories to smashwords....

Now, much as I understand Lazeez views, isn't the above just plain wrong..??

End rant...

Ernest Bywater

@joyR

Now, much as I understand Lazeez views, isn't the above just plain wrong..??


Correct, which is why Lazeez has an automatic inclusion of a copyright notice for each story and his corporate posting rules have:

You are the creator/co-creator of the work or you have explicit written permission from its author to post the work online. OR Submission is in the public domain (copyright has expired - which you may be asked to prove.)

You grant Storiesonline, its parent company 'World Literature Company (WLPC)' and its affiliated sites unlimited rights to publish the work in any format that it supports, on any of its sites for as long as WLPC exists or until you withdraw the work with a written request for removal. You retain all copyrights that you may have for the work.

as the first two posting rules at:

https://storiesonline.net/author/posting_guidelines.php

If any site doesn't have the first I'd keep well clear of it.

BTW, would you please send me a DM message with the site name if you don't want to post it here, as I want to check if they're stealing any of my stories?

Replies:   joyR  awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@joyR

isn't the above just plain wrong..??


Absolutely.

As soon as you write a story, it's copyrighted by you. You don't need any copyright notice.

joyR

@Ernest Bywater

BTW, would you please send me a DM message with the site name if you don't want to post it here, as I want to check if they're stealing any of my stories?


I'm replying here so other authors can relax. As far as I know. And yes I am actively checking. The stories used were posted to the first site. Not harvested from other sites, although they do not care if people post stories written by others to the site. If I see anything that also appears on SoL I will post here and notify the author.

As an aside, it will be interesting to see how Smashwords responds when they are notified of the issue, and that at least some of the stories include bestiality, which isn't something I expected Smashwords to allow, or am I mistaken..??

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

BTW, would you please send me a DM message with the site name if you don't want to post it here, as I want to check if they're stealing any of my stories?


I know that Lazeez frowns upon mentions of competing sites, but a competing site stealing stories from SOL authors presents a conundrum. Perhaps some sort of 'author alert' mechanism could be instituted? That could also be used to alert SOL authors when someone identifies an Amazon thief.

AJ

REP
Updated:

@joyR

I don't know if this would work, but I believe it would to a certain degree.

1. Post your new story to SOL. That gives it public dissemination with a copyright notice and date.

2. At sometime later, if you wish, you could send the story to your second site with a notice that you hold the copyright.

If the second site conveys the story to a third site, you would have the right to demand the 3rd site take the story down or face legal action.

If there is a kickback from the 3rd site to the employee of the second site, there may be possible criminal charges. Of course that may be expensive to prove. You might be able to claim collusion if there is a provable pattern. If so, perhaps you could sue both sites.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@REP

As I said, you have the copyright without the notice. The public domain part is bullshit and a smoke screen. They know they're violating copyright so it makes no difference having the copyright notice.

Crumbly Writer

We discussed this earlier with another site. Often, if authors don't bother to read the ToS (Terms of Service) agreement on these sites, they sometimes state that the owner (of the site) retains the right (which the author grants by posting there) to 'resell, distribute and distribute'. Thus, once you've posted your work to a questionable sight, you've already given them explicit permission to sell your works to whoever the hell they want.

Most reputable sights have similar language, which grants them the right to either display or foster commentary of your work, but if you retire or quit the site, that will terminate their license, but you've GOT to read those ToS statements we all hate to read!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

retains the right (which the author grants by posting there) to 'resell, distribute and distribute'.


True. It's the rights the author is granting (relinquishing if it's exclusive). But the author still maintains the copyright, so the public domain piece is bullshit.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

True. It's the rights the author is granting (relinquishing if it's exclusive). But the author still maintains the copyright, so the public domain piece is bullshit.

Even more, the copyright holder can always file a 'take-down notice', regardless of what he's 'authorized' in the past. Thus they might hold a valid claim to the material, but if you, as the original author, file a take-down claim, arguing they're abusing your copyright for their personal profit, sites like Smashwords will usually defer to the author's wishes.

joyR
Updated:

Update

After a back and forth via email they now offer to honour a DMCA takedown notice.

I've downloaded a couple of variations on the required notice, format wording etc, but do any of you have a template or example specific to stories?

Also noted that according to the .gov site the DMCA should be sent to the host, not the website owner..?? So does sending it to the website let them avoid their host knowing, therefore being oblivious to a potential chain of complaints?

Your thoughts..??

ETA

I'm also less than impressed at having to supply my name address phone number as well as my email address in the notice, thereby giving it to people with little morality as proven by the story theft for which the DMCA is required.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@joyR

Also noted that according to the .gov site the DMCA should be sent to the host,


I'd send to the website first and if they don't comply I send it to the hosting service. If the government website on DMCA don't have a template I doubt anyone does. In the past I'v simply sent an email outlining the situation or I used a template the site had, or a form the site had.

joyR

A brief update for those interested.

I discovered my stories had been posted without my consent on a site that not only uses stories for profit, but actually does so openly, flouting copyright and makes it difficult to contact them because there is no link to a webmaster etc email.

My requests for removal were ignored so I used the services of a takedown service. Success..!!

Did it cost money? Yes.
Was it worth it for four amateur stories? To me, Yes.
The service I used promises success or a full refund, I expected a refund.

So. If your story is stolen and your requests are ignored, there is another option, provided you have the money and feel strongly enough about the principle of copyright.

Details by DM if needed, I'm not advertising anyone on SoL.

Finally, no there are no stories there written by SoL authors, nor was SoL used as a source from which to steal my stories.

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