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How to protect your writers, rights and reputation

Updated on December 25, 2010

"Let the writer beware"

"Caveat scriptor" that is latin for "let the writer beware". So many young writers fall victim to scams and often times wind up doing a lot of writing for nothing. There are tons of content generators out there and they lure unsuspecting writers into writing for free everyday. Most new writers are so eager to get their name in print that they are willing to post their work for pennies or some will even go so far as to post them for free. These novice writers are unaware that these content generators are selling their work for nominal fees, some as high as several hundred dollars. They also fail to realize that when they checked the "I accept" box to the content generating websites policies and rules they have with one check of a box, signed away their literary rights.

What you don't know

There is a long misguided old addige that says "What you don't know can't hurt you." This phrase was coined by a fool who was probably telling it to their unsuspecting partner, that he or she was cheating on. When it comes to copyrights and writing for profit, what you don't know can bankrupt you. If you are an aspiring writer new to the game, and you are sure that you have the next best seller, "STOP!" Take your hands off the keyboard and back away from the computer.

Before you can write the best selling anything, you first have to know the laws that protect your work.Yes I said "work," you may consider it your destiny, art, or your calling, but when all is said and done, it truly boils down to "work." I know that it may put a damper on the muse of your creative energy to have to research, study, and learn, before put the crowning touch on that "masterpiece" but trust me it is absolutely necessary.

The first thing you need to learn is the U.S. copyright laws, then you need to learn all the individual rights that a writer can grant a content generating website, magazine or publications. The first one we will discuss is IP's or intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property rights:

One of the boldest moves I have seen a Content Generator demand is that each and every writer submitting content to them must sign away his or her "Intellectual property rights" solely and completely to them "FOREVER!" Sadly many people do this without even reading what they are signing away, when they in fact are signing away everything even remotely related to this work, with the only consolation that it will bear their name.Intellectual property rights mean in short every right you the creator has to his or her work. Never Ever, sign away your IP rights ever.

One time Usage rights:

One time Usage rights gives the content generator permission to use your writing once. This is good for the writer because they can only use it once without paying additional royalties to you the author. It also frees up the article to be submitted to other publications.(Note some publications will not accept articles that have been published in other publications.)

Creative commons:

Creative commons says that you allow your work to be used free of charge as many times as the content generator chooses as long as you are given credit for being the author.

Recurring rights:

When you give a content generator "Recurring Rights" you are allowing them to run your work over and over without further royalities to you . Be very careful when signing any kind of contract or clicking any agreement as the case may be, which will give a content generator the right to run any of your work over and over without payment to you.

You are what you write

Yes you read that right, because in the writing world you are known by how and what you write. So if you write junk articles for junk publications you will inavoidably become known as a junk writer. Every writer is responsible for whatever he or she writes and / or creates, with this in mind, every writer must be careful what he or she creates and who they create it for. There are many content generators on the net that are nothing more than internet tabloids. Good writers should avoid writing for such publications at all cost. These made for internet publications make their money on smut articles and sell large blocks of advertising to porn and sex on demand hook-up sites. While you may see this as a way to get your name in print, what you must know is that it is the "WRONG," way to get your name in print. The worse part of the deal is that these types of content generators are infamous for hooking promising young writers into what I call slave contracts, in which the writer is stuck producing thousands of articles a year for mere pennies. These smut doctors have great lawyers who draw up fool proof contracts that are vertually impossible to get out of, and should you choose to break your contract with them they will spend millions to make you regret it.

Pathway to plagiarized

The word plagiarism is tabu to every good writer, they neither want to plagiarize nor be plagiarized. Yet many young writers wind up plagiarizing many authors works by agreeing to "copy writing" for ruthless content generators.Beware of anyone who hands you an article and ask you to rewrite it in your own words. What they are actually doing is asking you to plagiarize someone Else's work. Also be on the look out for content generators and / or publications that ask that you write an article similar to another author's work, while many articles may be similar in theme and content too many similarities add up to plagiarism.

Writing for real

So who can you write for and earn money doing it? Well, if you're reading this goes without saying that you can write for Hubpages doesn't require that you sign away any of your rights, that's right, not a one, and while Hubpages doesn't pay you directly for your work they hook you up with pay per clicks like adsense from google and as your audience builds so does your profit. Hubpages is so much more than just a content generator it is a forum for writers young and old alike, it is a family of artist sharing their talents, and if you ask nicely they will critique your work and give you an honest and often times professional opinion of your work. Real publications pay their writers, you can find these "real publications" in writers digest and online magazines such as Writers weekly, Angela Hoy who is the founder and publisher of Writers Weekly is a Staunch advocate of writers and new writers as well. Angela has went to bat for many a writer who was wronged by a publication who refused to pay them and has won for them many times as well.

If you are a young writer and you are struggling to get your name out there, be sure to do your homework first, I am going to list some websites to help you below, look them over study the copyright laws as well as laws on publishing on the net and what the law is when it comes to plagiarism. Knowing the law won't get you published any faster but it will help you avoid major pitfalls further on down the road. As a writer, like any other craftsman you have rights, but you also have responsibilities. Know your rights and be responsible enough to tell a publisher "no" when it's not right.

All you need to know about copyrights


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    • LazyAndAmbitious profile image

      Nikola Stankovic 5 years ago from Serbia

      Really important and useful info. I tend not to post all of my poems on HubPages. Keep a lot of others with me if I want to make a mini book with all of my songs, ones that are featured here and the ones that aren't.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you johnnyco, for great and valuable information, thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • Ipeoney profile image

      Ipeoney 7 years ago from USA

      Thank you for the good information.

    • THE DIVINE YOU. profile image

      THE DIVINE YOU. 7 years ago

      Thanks a lot for the nice piece of information. Gracias!