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Content Rights

Disclaimer: This page does not constitute legal advice.

A lot of Writeoff participants are unclear of the rights associated with their work. The following is an attempt to expain the consequence of submitting work to this website.

Rights you grant this website

The terms of service say you grant us a license to publish any submitted work, because publishing the submitted work is the point of this website, and we need a license to do that. It also says you can't submit any work you don't have rights to, which should be fairly obvious. To be clear, you still own your submitted work. We just have a license to publish it.

First publishing rights

If you want to sell your story, most publishers will want first publishing rights. They want to be the only place where customers can get the story. If customers can buy elsewhere—or even better, read it for free here—then you don't have much to sell.

Given that you've granted us a license to publish your work, and it's already been published, you're going to have a bit of trouble.

Even if you scrub your story from the Internet, you've still technically published it already. You're just hoping that your publisher won't find out, and that nobody archived it.

Sometimes—especially if only a draft was submitted, which is typical—this isn't a huge concern, and being forthcoming might be a better idea.

Deleting your story from this website

You can revoke the license granted to us by unpublishing your story. This can be done after the event is concluded and will result in the story's contents no longer being displayed on the website.

This is the blunt approach and may not be required, nor is it really sufficient. The page could easily be archived before you unpublish it.

Making it hard to find your story on Google

The concern most publishers have is that their customers can find the story elsewhere. The way most customers will go about doing this is searching the title on Google.

The publisher themselves might try searching some of the text to see if it's listed somewhere. If the customer has a snippet or quote they can search, they might try that as well.

For the title, the only solution is to change the title. The title is listed all over the place for Google to pick up. On top of that, if it's linked elsewhere, Google will know about those links.

For the text of the story itself, Google (and most other search engines) can be told not to index the story page. This prevents any text on the page itself from appearing in search results, so nobody can find your story by putting a snippet into Google.

Even this is not totally sufficient, however. If the text is quoted or archived anywhere, that text can be searchable on Gooogle.

Both this and unpublishing the story can be done from the fic submission page.