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Author Topic: Copyrighting and stealing ideas  (Read 817 times)

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Offline mynamesnottim

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Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« on: November 27, 2018, 12:24:01 AM »
Hey everyone,

I’m sure this topic has been talked about before, but I am new here and wanted to bring up some questions.

I am a new writer and have a lot of ideas. A lot of those ideas are still in development which is why I come to sites like this one. I want to run ideas off of peers and develop my story. I am nervous to post my half finished story ideas because I do not want someone to read them, like them, and then use my idea to build their story.

I get that this is a way content is created. I take ideas from shows and books that I have read and give them my own twist. I still just feel paranoid about posting anything. I’m not trying to brag that I have the best ideas in the world. Far from that. But I am trying to give myself a chance at capitalizing on my own ideas and bringing them to life with a chance of publishing them and make a living.

Does someone out there know the rules around copyrighted works (particularly on a site like this one) and what steps I should be taking before posting ideas? I know, a very vague and broad question, but any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
mynamesnottim

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2018, 12:51:01 AM »
This is actually a common fear among new members from what I can tell. As far as I know, no one's stories have ever been stolen here, and our admins and moderators have that data of the timestamps of your posts to show that your idea came first. It seems to me that most of the people here get absorbed in their own stories and are almost too into their own stuff to bother taking someone else's product.

Offline KeanFox

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2018, 11:47:43 AM »
There is no shortage of ideas. Everyone you talk to have great ideas. Ideas need to be developed and worked on so ideas by themselves are not worth stealing. People will rather work on there on ideas. Artwork gets stolen more often because they don't have to be work on it.

I have a story idea I been working on. Talking to other people about their story ideas I often find similarities to my story idea. I never told anyone about my idea so it can't be that they stole my idea. Point is, right now there is someone out there thinking the same idea as you. It's not that weird, as you said we consume the same media. 

I think you get more from sharing your work and talking with people.  Eventually, you going to show your work to somebody. Your editors, writing friends etc
 If you can't shake the feeling that someone will steal your story, don't show it. Write it in full then copywriter it.

Offline Vacant

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2018, 12:02:23 PM »
Welcome Myname first of all. You're right, a lot of writers have come with this very question and have had reservations about this before.

My advice is to not worry about it. Mahlua was correct in that by posting here, you have a clear timestamp for when your work was posted online, so if there ever was a need to prove what came first then you would have that in your favour.

To be honest though, no one ever has and likely never will have their ideas stolen off the internet. The simple truth is that publishers aren't scouring small forums like this to scalp ideas to churn out into novels.

Trust your own abilities too. I say this often, but a large percentage of what makes a good story to me is not "what" it is about, rather than "how" it is executed. Even if someone was to take the idea you had, chances are they couldn't run with it quite like you could. Since it's your creation, its something you'd be more passionate about and have more drive to write. You probably have had far longer to develop the story and narrative.

You can get your work copyrighted. However, this is a timely and costly endeavour that I would avoid at this early stage.  Hope that helps  :thumbsup:

Offline Operative13

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2018, 03:33:15 PM »
Simple rule of copyright: if you made it first, you own it.

You don't need any fancy paperwork or certificate to prove you own the copyright. So long as your work is in some tangible form like a forum post or piece of paper it's yours.

That said, there's a big difference between posting actual work and just putting out ideas. Just putting out an idea about so-and-so is not considered enough to be copyright-able compared to a fully-fleshed out story written down to the word about that same idea. Remember, it has to be tangible, not "in your head." In such cases, it is much better to post your actual work-in-progress rather than vaguely describe it to people (some people figuratively "shot themselves in the foot" because of this). It makes it much harder to prove it's yours in court if you've never actually posted the story.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline KeanFox

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2018, 04:21:19 PM »
Is the timestamp thing a good idea? What happens when the site goes down? Not sure how mirrors work and if it will be there.

Offline mynamesnottim

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2018, 08:25:57 PM »
Thanks everyone for responding with all of this information!

I do feel a lot better about posting ideas and works in progress. I totally understand how people are already so into their own works that they generally do not care to copy someone else’s.

I like what Vacant said about how you make the work your own and it works because it is yours. I would like to believe that not just anyone could take my ideas and be able to do as good a job as I would. But seriously I appreciate all of the posts I have read so far. They have been very informative and a tremendous help to me.

My goal is to post a work in progress this weekend. We will see if I can finish in time. I’m excited to learn more from all of you and your ideas as well.

Thanks again,
mynamesnottim

Offline CookiePanda

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2018, 03:31:47 PM »
Every idea has been done. I used to be super paranoid about showing my works in progress when I first started out writing for the same reasons. After years of sharing my ideas I've never had my work stolen or been blatantly plagiarized so these fears have subsided. I find that the rewards you get from sharing your works (especially in progress works) far out number the risks. Hope to see some of your stuff soon!

Offline MN_Seahawk25

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 12:16:43 AM »
I personally appreciate everyone's comments in this section extremely helpful thank you everyone!

Offline Crackhead Johny

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Re: Copyrighting and stealing ideas
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2019, 04:05:22 PM »
Every idea has been done.
Bullsh1t!!!! This is a line endlessly parroted by plagiarists.

Look at Stand Up. You have to do the new and fresh or you are done. If writers were held to comedian standards we would have a whole world of amazing fresh stuff. Yeah we would have less than 1% of the content we do but it would be WAY better than what garbage mills turn out.

pla·gia·rism
Dictionary result for plagiarism
/?pl?j??riz?m/
noun
noun: plagiarism; plural noun: plagiarisms

    the practice of taking someone else's work OR IDEAS and passing them off as one's own.

Classic KW Jeter is/was fresh (his latest colab is barftastic). Philip K Dick ideas are/were fresh (though heavily plagiarized these days).

The problem is people write what they know. So Hemingway spent his days socializing (Pronounced: Drinking) and bull fighting and adventuring. His stuff was fresh.
These days people just read/watch. So when they go to write something all they have is plagiarism.

Is this bad?
In middle school you get a F on a paper if you plagiarize. In High school you have to repeat the course if you plagiarize. In college you get kicked out if you plagiarize. In Hollywood you get FREAKING PAID and then you get AWARDS if you plagiarize. You sell your soul and put out another Naruto Bleach Z and you can make bank.
Hollywood and modern anime writers just look at other peoples works as Legos they can steal. You call them plagiarist and they get angry (if new/young. The old wise ones laugh and quote Eliot https://medium.com/corkscrew-thinking/talent-borrows-genius-steals-4a226bd6a375) but that is what they are.
When you watch or read things that are predictable that is because you have either seen them in real life or seen them stolen enough times in the past.
Hayao Miyazaki has lamented that all the modern manga/anime creators grew up on anime so all they do is copy.
Satoshi Kon is dead, kiss originality good bye.

As OP said "I take ideas from shows and books that I have read and give them my own twist." AKA I steal but do not want others stealing my stolen stuff.

How do you avoid doing this?
1. go out and have adventures.
2. Know everyone. Socialize with everybody. Take them or parts of them for your characters. Taylor all your dialogs to how people talk and don't just go stealing hack writing off the TV.
3. Section yourself (your personality/experiences) into your characters. For example in my long running project I have had to accept I'm not the title character but in fact the magic girl.. That was a rough one.
4. Steal from history rather than the last thing you watched. GOT and B5 do this very well.
5. If you are stealing make sure things make sense. If you take a bit and stuff it in and it doesn't work, that just screams "PLAGIARISM!". Think of this like stealing cars; you have to do a lot of things to the car before you can just drive it around town. If you want to steal The Seven Samurai you should try to end up with Rogue One and not Battle Beyond The Stars.

In the world of writing if you are stealing, do not worry about sharing (Well other than "OMG you are ripping off X" in the critiques).
The only time you have to worry is if you are doing something fresh and new (like comedy, if you are doing comedy proper, play it close to the chest). I was a little irked a year or more after a convention when, after drinking with other game devs, I found they had stolen and published my stuff.. Of course they ignored the important things I was saying and so no one including me remembers their game.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 04:28:39 PM by Crackhead Johny »