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Author Topic: question about rights and other legal issues  (Read 9061 times)

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soda

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question about rights and other legal issues
« on: July 07, 2009, 10:18:34 PM »

Hey, first post on this forum, looks like an amazing place!

I had a question about legalities and rights issues that I ran into recently, and I wanted to know if anyone on here could help me.  I run a mystery themed website and I want to have other people contribute their work to my site.  However, I want to be fair to anyone who contributes, and I want to make sure that they are able to keep the rights to their work. 

Right now, my site has two means of submitting content, either via email, or via a message board that I placed on my site.  Of course, all content on the message board is protected by my message board legalize, which is very restrictive regarding author's rights (it has to be), and I'm strongly considering taking this avenue down.  The other method is via email (I'm working on a way to submit content via the front-end of the website, but I'm encountering technical difficulties, so it might be a while before that is up) and I'm having trouble hitting on a way to create the language to split up the rights with that.  My website is www.mysteryinscarletcity.com, and I want to have two types of stories in the site, those that take place in scarlet city, and those that don't.  I obviously don't want to give up ownership of my own creations (scarlet city), but I'm struggling to find a legal way to have other people not give up theirs. 

The best system I've been able to come up with is to have contest and to compensate people who write winning stories provided they sign over the rights.  I don't like that system at all, as it would seem to contradict my purpose of allowing creators to keep the rights to their work.  There might not be any good solution, as a public website might have to compensate people for stuff posted, but I'm looking for a better way to do this.  Anyone have any good resources I could use to do a lot more research into rights issues when running a website such as mine?  I know I'm a little confused, and I could use a hand. 
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Elena

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 11:46:15 AM »

You are right that this is a difficult area to get information about. I am curious about why you have to obtain all rights to a piece if you run a contest site? Why not First North American?

Elena
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 01:55:58 PM »

Soda,

Re Elena's comment below:

You are right that this is a difficult area to get information about. I am curious about why you have to obtain all rights to a piece if you run a contest site? Why not First North American?

Or, since everyone has access to the 'Net, "First World Electronic Rights and First Publication Rights."

That would seem to cover what you'd need, and would still leave the author with all other rights that might appurtain.

BTW, a hearty welcome to the group.

Elena

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 10:39:31 AM »

Thanks Jim for the correct "Firsts" - another case of my age showing.
Elena
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soda

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 11:29:55 PM »

Elena and Jim,

Thanks a bunch, a quick google search on the terms you provided gave me what I needed!  I think I'll go with your suggestion and ask for First World Electronic Rights and First Publication Rights for contest winners.  I'll start running contest just as soon as I write the code for a good means of submitting content through the front end of my website.  Much appreciated for all the help! 

Cheers,

Soda
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Leon

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 07:58:01 PM »

Soda,

Visit www.lov.gov. Download Cirular 92 (AKA Title 17) --- governs copyrightable material.

Also, as to using other writers material on your website and they retain copyright --- ask them for written consent to use their work.

Also, you make copyright your website via e-mail www.loc.gov
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MTH

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2010, 12:11:03 PM »

I have a question in the same vein (I think). Some years back I was a member of a forum and subsequently some educator experiences I wrote about on the boards were used in a published book with my permission. I have always wondered if a contribution like that is really considered "writing." Or, after it gets into a book, then is it considered to be "written work" like an essay, etc. ? Or is there a separate category which be likened to a written down conversation and not actual writing?
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Elena

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Re: question about rights and other legal issues
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 09:26:12 PM »

I have a little bit of an answer - for one it depends on whose eyes you're looking through - as an attorney wanting action, or as an author wanting to list it as credentials, or ???

It also depends on whether you were given credit in the book for your contribution. Then it certainly is writing as far as listing in your credentials is concerned.

In general it's hard to say without knowing why the question has come up - overall, you wrote it, therefore it's your writing.

I know, more tantalizing than helpful, but maybe someone else has a more complete answer.

Elena
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