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Hey guys, good news!

I don't remember how many of you were around for the copyright talk we had a while back, but I just got out of a small (~20 people) seminar in which the speaker was a recently graduated (from my current university) patent lawyer with a B.S. in C.S.E. (irrelevant).

Long story short, I was able to personally ask him about how one can protect their intellectual property (henceforth referred to as IP) without spending copious amounts of money. Unfortunately, he knew little about copyrights outside of the US, but he was still able to give me quite a bit of information.

Simply put, in the United States, the policy is "first to record the idea," which means that by simply writing our work on a piece of paper, or better yet, typing it into a saved file with a time-stamp (all files should be given one automatically by your computer), Emily, I and any other stateside writers have an instant copyright on our work. Interestingly enough, our claim is not weakened, but strengthened by putting it on FP, as this gives us an unchangeable date in the public domain at which our work was without a doubt written and produced. Should someone infringe on our work, we cannot take up a claim in Federal Court as we have not filed a Federal Copyright, but we can still file a lawsuit against them in our own state and/or the state in which the infringement occurred. Better yet, most countries are treaty-bound to uphold copyright claims of other nations, so if I were to sue someone in, say, France for selling Full Circle as their own work and win in a New York State Court, the French government could NOT interfere and would be obliged to adhere to the courts decision. If I were to sue the same person in a French court and provided the same documentation proving that I first wrote the story, the court would be forced to find in my favor; even if the offender had already obtained a copyright in France for the same work.

Unfortunately, most other countries have a "First to document" policy, which means that whoever first files a copyright/patent/trademark gets it. You'll have to look up your local laws to get specifics.

Lastly he mentioned creative commons, which is something you can put on your work which limits how it may be used and will hold up in any international court as it is no longer a copyright issue, but a licensing issue. Obtaining a creative commons license is as simple as posting your work on deviantart and selecting the "use CC License" option (though there are other ways to get one, do a google search for more).

10/7/2010 . Edited 10/8/2010 #91


*explodes from happiness*

10/7/2010 #92

I'm loving this!

10/8/2010 #93

That is very awesome. I need to do my research for these kind of laws in Canada...

10/9/2010 #94

Fyi, France is alsso a "first to record" country. **disclaimer: I'm NOT a lawyer**

The problem, as usual, being how to make your record waterproof. I'd agree that having a publication date on FP is a good start.

For the cc license, as I understand it, nothing prevent you from adding directly in the text an author note about you using it even within FP. The difference is it would not show on CC search engines. And remember that licensing is a totally different problem. First, you protect your IP via copyright, and then, you can think about how you can authorize some uses through a license agreement.

10/9/2010 #95
MidNight The Magnificent

Hey, I was just wondering, do any of you guys have experience in writing scripts? Any tips in that area?

10/16/2010 #96

None. But I'm interested if anyone else has! Good question.

10/16/2010 #97
MidNight The Magnificent

Yeah, 'cause I could really use some help in that area. I know about all the basic formatting and stuff, but I'd love any insider tips.

10/16/2010 #98

Yeah I've written two short screenplay things. One is posted up on FP and the other was for awhile but was really lame, XD

umm...there's a lot that goes into it. As far as insider tips? Don't describe the way a character is feeling in the action direction, no "she felt hurt and then frowned" or anything--that's bad. Try to stay as action-oriented as possible. Um...hmm, it's been a long time since I was taught in one of my classes @_@ The formatting is the hardest part, I think. But if you say you got that down then otherwise that's the only tip I have at the moment...if anything else comes to me I'll mention, XD

10/16/2010 #99

thanks for the advice! I totally want to write a screenplay. do you think it helps with dialogue, going back to a regular story afterwards?

10/17/2010 #100




10/17/2010 #101

dang, she got the virgin.

Screenplays: yeah, no.

I remember Paul Jennings saying you had to take out anything that told the actors how to say the lines, because that was supposed to be totally up to them, like their artistic interpretation and that of the director/producer type. but yeah, it should totally make you focus on what can and cannot be said through dialogue, and force your dialogue to be the best it can be :)

10/17/2010 #102
Elsbeth Lagrange

I don't know if any of you are twitterers, but I have been getting awesome inspiration and advice on a daily basis from @advicetowriters (!/AdviceToWriters)

He recently posted a link for "How to write a screenplay"

I've been trying to read lots of advice from experienced writers lately, and a lot of it matches up with what's already been said here. I would like to add one that comes up a lot, from diverse sources - Mark Twain to Ernest Hemingway to Neil Gaiman. As you can well imagine, they all say it pretty differently, but it boils down to this: keep writing. Write when you don't want to and write when you aren't making anything good. One of my favourites is how Ray Bradbury puts it: "You have to jump off a cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down."

10/20/2010 #103

Thanks for that! XD

Yep, best advice is just to keep writing. It's also the hardest to stick to lol

10/21/2010 #104

That's very true, just keep writing, XD

My professors have always reinforced the hopes that as a writer, everyday, even if you don't feel like it, you should do free writing.

I have to admit I don't write everyday....I tend to daydream about it though, XD, especially if I go writing-deprived.

10/21/2010 #105
Tawny Owl

I think it depends what you class as 'writing'. I've read things where the professionals say you have to sit down and write a hundred words or for half an hour a day. I think daydreaming counts though. Sometimes sitting down and zoning out can help you daydream a plot kink through, or take you along a character's backstory that you wouldn't normally give that much time to if you were hunched over a key board thinking 'I must do a hundred words and get to here.'

So daydreaming definatley counts as writing for me, just remember to make a note of it before you forget it! Which is what I tend to do.

10/23/2010 #106

Haha that happens to me too! I get most of my good ideas lying in bed trying to go to sleep... but by then I'm so comfortable I don't want to get up for a pen.

I'm still trying to remember something vauge but awesome from a few days ago... lol.

Daydreaming while driving is good too, as long as you don't get too distracted of course!

10/23/2010 #107
MidNight The Magnificent

Hell yes, daydreaming DEFINITELY equals writing. I always make sure I have pen/paper at my bedside, or at least, that I'm charging my iPhone beside me. Anything's good, really, as long as you jot one or two words(or more)down to help you remember the brilliant idea. Sitting down in font of pen and paper/laptop telling myself I MUST write usually ends in disaster. Nothing good is ever forced out, I've learnt that much, at least.

10/24/2010 #108
Tawny Owl

Good luck remembering the awesome idea, Xen.

I usually have paper and pen on me somewhere, but that just means my bag gets full of scribbled notes about various things, and because I normally have more than one thing on the go at once I do have to sit down and religously empty my bag and file them all in the right places. Does anyone have any good tips for being organised? Or should I think about investing in an iPhone?

10/24/2010 #109

Ah well, yay, if daydreaming is writing then I basically write all day, XD

I never take pen or paper notes, I used to write poetry in a sketch book back in high school and I tried picking that back up again, but I can't even do that anymore.

Writing out a story in long hand makes me shudder--if I try, I never add in enough detail, it's the shittiest thing ever. Like, my imagination and brain works faster than my hand can manually write down on paper, dialogue for instance, etc.

Does anyone have any good tips for being organised? Or should I think about investing in an iPhone?

I tend to make lists to stay organized. There's this thing called Google Desktop on Windows Vista, I'm sure Apple has something similar, but you can make little to-do lists and keep them on your computer desktop, and I've used that quite a bit when I have a lot of homework due in one week, etc. If everything seems too overwhelming lists always make me feel better because I can ex out one thing at a time and know what to prepare for next.

As far as organizing stories though, pft, XD, I'm the worst story-organizer in the entire world. I do everything last minute...XD

Hmm...I don't have an iPhone, I don't know anyone who has one either! But I know a shit ton of people who have Droids, those are the big things around here...Midwest USA, holla!

10/24/2010 #110

Good luck remembering the awesome idea, Xen.

Heh, thanks. Still no luck ;)

@Emily: I know what you mean about shorthand stories. It's just not the same! Haven't heard of Google Desktop but I'll look into it.

Lists are awesome, but I have no clue how to organize a story. Just keep a folder, maybe? On word or actual paper. Or just write your ideas down randomly and then type them all up at the end of the week for safekeeping?

I am ridiculously un-organized, I leave everything till the last minute, and if I don't have a list I'll just forget to do things. It's terrible.

10/25/2010 #111

I know that Austen (Jess / improvchallenged) started organizing her giant epic scoped sweet ass story series on an actual Wikipedia-like site...maybe it was just Wikipedia, XD, but at any rate, you were able to organize all of the documents and ideas you had and basically write it out in that encyclopedia format, and you could keep the webpage private and just to yourself so that the public couldn't see it, which I think is nifty.

I'll have to get her over here to give details, but that always seemed like a cool idea because also if something happened to your computer or your backup or anything, you'd have all of that on the Internet and could access it anywhere, etc.

10/25/2010 #112

Late response here with the organization thing, but here we go:

Supplies: Post It Notes, cue cards, lists, highlighters, pencil crayons, markers, coloured paper, notebook(s), lined paper and blank paper.

Method: Because of the vast scope of the story I'm trying to write, I've had to find creative ways to organize it all in a way that won't make my brain explode. I'll use Post It notes for little ideas that come to me that I could insert somewhere in the story, but not entirely sure where yet. I'll use cue cards for settings and characters (colour coded according to gender and location), I'll highlight important little notes within my notebook, pencil crayons for underlining other important dealies, coloured paper for whatever needs to stand out even more, lined and blank paper for various uses.

Er, just realized I'm talking about organizing my story... in a way that could be seen as plotting... Well, er, hmm... that's all I got. Just lost my train of thought. (I suppose that could be used for other stuff too somehow, yeah?)

10/25/2010 #113

Because of the vast scope of the story I'm trying to write, I've had to find creative ways to organize it all in a way that won't make my brain explode.

Wow, Liana. Your organizing is like an artform in itself. Am impressed XD

10/27/2010 #114
Tawny Owl

Thanks everyone. I'll try looking in to Google desktop. I think that's teh way to do it, as I tend to lose notes and post its all the time.

10/27/2010 #115

Wow, Liana. Your organizing is like an artform in itself. Am impressed XD


11/6/2010 #116

Well, since I'm dominating and trying to resubscribe to all of these threads (because all of my options turned themselves off randomly), I like to do all of my planning on a single notebook page. Then, I like that "snowflake method". If you guys haven't ever seen that, it is the single greatest gift to a disorganized writer.

11/6/2010 #117

(You haven't dominated yet, my dear).

I have yet to try that method. If you're recommending it, I think I just might have to try it out. ;)

11/6/2010 #118

ooh, what, pray tell, is the snowflake method? *thinks of cutting out lots of teeny folded paper bits in primary school)

11/6/2010 #119

It's on the resources for writing list at the RG. Essentially, you start small, and develop your story from big-picture stuff on downward.

Check the link. It takes a very long time to explain, but it's certainly worth looking at. I highly recommend it. I'm using it to write my novel at the moment. I'm on step five.

11/6/2010 . Edited 11/6/2010 #120
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