Stewart C Baker

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EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $22,000 in prizes for good stories

Hi Aaron,

I am a science fiction writer and member of SFWA (the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and just wanted to leave a note to strongly encourage you to firm up the copyright stuff a bit more, particularly the part where you seem to be saying it's okay for people to copy someone else's work into a forum post and publish it there. Even if it's correctly attributed to the original author, that has the potential to open the author up to liability, especially if the piece was published recently and may still be under exclusive rights to the magazine where it was originally published. At worst, it might result in unintentional plagiarism or even intentional theft of others' copyrighted work.

I see WSC Friedman has already quite correctly pointed out how posting the work on a public forum will lose the author their first publication rights. This is more of a concern for reprints, or works that have appeared previously.

Speaking as an author, links to published work in their original location are always appreciated, and I don't think anyone will be upset if their work wins an award based on someone else suggesting it (although depending on the rights you're asking for in exchange, a few people might balk), but that and "try to post the full work [in a public forum post] if you can" are very different animals.

Thanks for considering, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about my concerns if that helps. You can find my contact information on my blog at https://infomancy.net/

Stewart