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An Introduction To Copyrights And Plagiarism

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing the different elements of copyrights, plagiarism, and all that intellectual property rights entail.

I've been a writer for a long time, but have recently become a published author. Having had to deal with plagiarism for a while, I felt it is necessary to share my experience and knowledge on the issue. Included in the articles that I will share will be my knowledge as a ghostwriter, content creator, blogger and now author.

I realize that many authors have no clue what copyright encompasses and what the sub-elements of copyrights really mean. Here are some examples of what the upcoming articles will cover:

  • Exclusive publishing rights
  • Full Rights/Partial Rights
  • Usage Rights
  • Non-Disclosure
  • DRM
  • Royalty Free (usually associated with art and graphics)
  • Fair Use

In essence, copyright is simply the legal ownership of a particular creative material, including fictional works (books and movies), art, music, and some non-fictional material. 

The original creator of the material holds exclusive rights to the material, upon the creation of the material. They hold the exclusive rights for distribution in any format, until and when they sign over those rights for publishing purposes (only) such as for print distribution or Digital Right Management.

The copyright of the material becomes legally binding when that material has been published. The creator of the material is still the legal copyright owner, unless otherwise stipulated in a sales contract. However, in recent years, due to the widespread of theft of intellectual property, many artists (including authors and musicians) have registered their copyrights with their national copyright agencies. This is good, but the problem with this is that some agencies charge a fee and many people are unable to afford this.

The upside with publishing online is that places like Amazon.com and many other publishing houses, secure your copyrights as the first edition published. This they are able to do by scanning for similar material with their plagiarism scanners in order to detect copied content from your files.

Other websites, such as some content curators, also do the plagiarism check to see if your material is found elsewhere on the internet, or to make sure your materials is not stolen.

Currently, I have 163 articles published on Hubpages.com. Of those articles, more than 50% of them have been stolen at some point or another. 

In the articles I will be sharing, there will be advice on:

  1. How to deal with plagiarism
  2. How to copyright your work easily without having to pay a cent
  3. What to do to secure your work when sending to editors and beta readers
  4. Sending ARC copies to reviewers

I hope these articles will come in handy to someone facing copyright issues and those in need of answers. Stay tuned as we work together as artists to protect each other from those who seek to take advantage of us.

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