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Story Thieves! (1 Viewer)

EternalGreen

Senior Member
I do know this happens with novels.

How do you react to strangers (not from a community like this) ostensibly offering a helping hand to look over something you wrote?

I'm not so vain as to think anyone is going to burglarize my stuff for money right now (I can't even sell this shit--how could they?).

But I do worry about people posting short stories publicly to places like wattpad for some unknowable reason. That would be a bummer.
 

Amnesiac

Senior Member
You know, you can only do what you can do. If someone is going to steal your work, meh... They haven't stolen you or your unique voice, nor have they stolen your individual creative spark.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I do know this happens with novels.

How do you react to strangers (not from a community like this) ostensibly offering a helping hand to look over something you wrote?

I'm not so vain as to think anyone is going to burglarize my stuff for money right now (I can't even sell this shit--how could they?).

But I do worry about people posting short stories publicly to places like wattpad for some unknowable reason. That would be a bummer.

I just wouldn't take them up on it, not if they're a complete stranger. That said, I've found betas on twitter who I entrust with it, but there, there tends to be a prior interaction.
 

Turnbull

Senior Member
I used to feel paranoid about such things. HIstorically speaking, though, you're more likely to be stolen from by a large, corporate entity that can afford more lawyers than you (ie that guy that was ripped off for Star Trek Discovery). The only experience I've had with someone like that was someone I know locally writing a future story for a series I was in the middle of writing. We were in the same writers' group, and she assumed that since other people have shared their characters before, that it's okay to just take mine without asking. That wasn't really stealing as she didn't post it anywhere, but it was pretty rude of her to abscond with my characters when I had plans for them.

Other than that, I don't know how often people have actually ripped others off.
 

JJ Dean

Senior Member
Hi EternalGreen. If you do find that someone has posted your work on a site without your authorization, most sites will let you report it and will take down the offending material. I know Wattpad has this function, for example. You can just search for "[name of site] report infringement" and you should find the appropriate page.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I've had my work stolen twice. It's no fun, either. One person stole the online course I was teaching. Took my look (copied my sign up info and page) copied my words, schedule, and presented it all as if it was her own and she was the teacher. I got that removed, with some help from my friends. Another person stole my essay and republished it under her name word-for-word. My essay had been published at least three times before so I got a past editor to help me get get the thief's name removed from my essay. I know the names of these two thieves and I watch for publishing news about them, in case someone needs my help in getting them stopped.
 
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Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I've had my work stolen twice. It's no fun, either. One person stole the online course I was teaching. Took my look (copied my sign up info and page) copied my words, schedule, and presented it all as if it was her own and she was the teacher. I got that removed, with some help from my friends. Another person stole my essay and republished it under her name word-for-word. My essay had been published at least three times before so I got a past editor to help me get get the thief's name removed from my essay. I know the names of these two thieves and I watch for publishing news about them, in case someone needs my help in getting them stopped.

That seems very laid back of you to me. Identity theft is usually for profit, but it could make someone's life very unpleasant just by expressing an interest with a few aggressive salesmen. For starters.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
Oh, I was furious both times. I was anything BUT laid back when it happened. But what could I do, really? Hire an expensive attorney for theft of work that didn't pay much in the first place? I know their names and so do some editors know their names. We'll just have to keep watch.

Some people, I've discovered, will steal anything. I ran a popular online critique workshop and people would post their stories. One person who joined posted an amazing story. I recognized it immediately-- as most certainly NOT his but he used his own name as the author. It was published in an anthology that I'd studied pretty carefully. I removed the thief from the workshop but it always puzzled me why this person posted someone else's work. I guess so he could look good to the group.

Then there's the story of poet Neal Bowers. His work started appearing in all sorts of literary magazines under someone else's name. The thief was doing it merely to be nasty-- got no profit, no personal glory. He wasn't even using his own name but used a made-up name as the author of Bowers' poetry. Bowers hired an attorney, a private detective, and it took years to get to the bottom of it. Meantime, Bowers had accumulated debts and had marital troubles. The thief was finally identified, a convicted child molester. He was not charged.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Times have changed. I once knew of a man who was most unpleasant. Someone phoned the coal company who had a special summer offer and ordered a ton on his behalf. "Don't take any notice of the wife, she wants to buy it by the bag in the winter, but I am the one who is paying. If she won't give you access to the back dump it on the front lawn and I'll barrow it through."

There is always something you can do, though you might not get away with something like that. You could in a story, might as well get something out of them, the revenge horror story. I would go for capturing them and having them strapped in a white chair in a white room played a recording of the story they had stolen on a continuous loop for days and days. I expect you could come up with your own variation.
 
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