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Fiona Powell United Kingdom (1/2/2014 10:28:00 AM)

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First of all, the term 'self-plagiarism' is an oxymoron. How can you plagiarise yourself?However, after much googling on this worrying proposition, it seems to boil down to the individual circumstances of the text and where it is re-printed/re-published. As a journalist for over 20 years, I was always told that, once something I had written had been published, the copyright automatically reverted to me. (Don't forget the cheap way of copyrighting your own work is to post a copy to yourself and keep it, unopened, with the postmark and postdate clearly visible so, if necessary, one day in court or at the lawyer's office it can be opened and you can prove you came up with the idea first) . However, if I was paid for something that was not published, I had to wait for it to be published before I could re-use it OR I had to substantially re-write the piece. If something's being offered for free and is published for free, the ownership and all rights stay with the writer. That's my understanding of this subject but there are some very odd legalities when it comes to this. For instance, I was told that I could not write about a real life event that happened to me, in case the other person involved decided to sue, even though that person had already written their own autobiography in which they had written about the incident and mentioned me in it. I was told that " prior publication is no defence." Crazy huh?However, I think many publishers turn a blind eye if the prospect of making money or losing money is not at stake. As a journalist, I have had many of my articles quoted and re-used without my permission and there's nothing I can do about it because I'm not rich with an army of lawyers at my disposal. It would have been nice would have been if anyone had been courteous enough to ask permission, but I would probably have said yes anyway.

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  • Rookie - 1 Points Doris Cornago (1/5/2014 3:17:00 AM) Post reply
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    Thank you Ms Powell for thorough coverage of the topic. I will bear this info in mind and put a brake on my overproduction.

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