Can I plagiarize my own material?

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amyhg
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Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby amyhg » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:15 pm

I'm just beginning to practice flash fiction, but something occurred to me... If I write a flash piece and sell it, then write a fleshed out version of that flash piece, can I also sell it or would that be unprofessional since they originate from the same ideas, characters, and/or setting?
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby amoskalik » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:59 am

I don't see why not. I believe DF turned his winning story for this contest into a novel and I'm sure there are plenty of other examples like that one.
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MattDovey
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby MattDovey » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:39 am

Thousands of examples. Ender's Game started as a short. Flowers for Algernon started as a short. Martin is just turning his Clarkesworld short Today I Am Paul into a novel.

I can't think of a flash turned into a short--which arguably compete more than shorts v novels--but chances are it would take you longer than the exclusivity of a published flash piece (4 months at DSF, 6 months at FFO forex) to write and sell a longer version anyway.

People write stories inspired by others all the time. The same ideas are examined over and over by authors (so many "we live in a simulation" stories at Nature!). You could write a short inspired by someone else's flash, you can sure as shit write a story inspired by your own, and re-use characters, setting, whatever you like :)
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amyhg
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby amyhg » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:26 pm

MattDovey wrote:Thousands of examples. Ender's Game started as a short. Flowers for Algernon started as a short. Martin is just turning his Clarkesworld short Today I Am Paul into a novel.

I can't think of a flash turned into a short--which arguably compete more than shorts v novels--but chances are it would take you longer than the exclusivity of a published flash piece (4 months at DSF, 6 months at FFO forex) to write and sell a longer version anyway.

People write stories inspired by others all the time. The same ideas are examined over and over by authors (so many "we live in a simulation" stories at Nature!). You could write a short inspired by someone else's flash, you can sure as shit write a story inspired by your own, and re-use characters, setting, whatever you like :)


Oops. Guess I'm finally coming back around to this conversation again. I guess I'm more concerned about publishers getting touchy about it, especially if I want to reuse a scene or some lines. Would that come off as tactless?
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MattDovey
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby MattDovey » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:30 am

amyhg wrote:
MattDovey wrote:Thousands of examples. Ender's Game started as a short. Flowers for Algernon started as a short. Martin is just turning his Clarkesworld short Today I Am Paul into a novel.

I can't think of a flash turned into a short--which arguably compete more than shorts v novels--but chances are it would take you longer than the exclusivity of a published flash piece (4 months at DSF, 6 months at FFO forex) to write and sell a longer version anyway.

People write stories inspired by others all the time. The same ideas are examined over and over by authors (so many "we live in a simulation" stories at Nature!). You could write a short inspired by someone else's flash, you can sure as shit write a story inspired by your own, and re-use characters, setting, whatever you like :)


Oops. Guess I'm finally coming back around to this conversation again. I guess I'm more concerned about publishers getting touchy about it, especially if I want to reuse a scene or some lines. Would that come off as tactless?


If you're outside the exclusivity period, it doesn't matter. They might get iffy if you have something substantially similar published within that 3-/6-/12-month period, but the odds of that seem pretty low anyway, given the speed publishing moves at :)
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BLAlley
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby BLAlley » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:33 pm

I included expanded versions of two previous short stories in my most recent book.

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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby Harion » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:20 pm

unless it's a scholarly article, it's fine.

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orbivillein
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby orbivillein » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:20 pm

Plagiarism is, generally, use of someone else's intellectual effort, material, and work and representing it as one's own. If a story is under copyright, publication rights in particular, and licensed to a publisher, and a closely derivative work is published in quick or simultaneous succession as well, then publisher rights' copyright infringement might be a consideration. Many digest publications acquire exclusive publication rights for a limited time span, often a one-year term, generally, then allow for subsequent reprints with suitable acknowledgement of first publication.

The given what-if supposition fits that latter scenario. For scholastic work, self-plagiarism is when a student represents and submits work from other papers as original work that is substantively the same content, like from one class or course's assignment for another class or course's assignment, and is subject to similar consequences as outright plagiarism if discovered: a do-over and grade reduction at least, failed assignment or course grade, honor code violation and sanctions, dismissal from the course or class, expulsion from college.

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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby amyhg » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:07 pm

Thanks, orbivillein. Apparently, I didn't know my terminology. I was referring to copyright infringement. I'm aware of the exclusivity clauses. I'm curious though, if I expand a short story into a novel but retain some of the scenes exactly, would a potential publisher be concerned about that material even after exclusivity has elapsed for the short story?
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orbivillein
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby orbivillein » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:04 am

Back when digest publishers bought and registered perpetual copyrights to their respective houses, and not under writers' copyrights, pre the 1976 Copyright Act and subsequent copyright acts, digest publishers delighted if a book publisher published a given digest's short story writer's derivative novel. Free publicity, advertisement, and promotion accrue for a digest in the form of first publication acknowledgments and claim to "discovery" of a writer for the prestige. Gradually, since then, more and more, now maybe most, writers retain copyright, even if a publisher registers the copyright and pays the fees, and writers then contract for specific use license options with publishers.

The acknowledgment practice continues, though a mite less common and ever more uncommon now than before. Some or many digest and book publication contracts now include a strongly worded acknowledgment request clause -- back when taken as a by-default given now must be expressly expressed within a publication contract. More and more publishers adopt that clause, for its sound business sense at no cost to a publisher, nor added revenue or costs for a writer, either, at least not direct benefits. Perhaps indirect benefits and good will accrue to all concerned, though.

A conscientious writer would deign to accept such an acknowledgment clause and bargain for a publisher concession quid pro quo -- not for a first-time short story publication contract, per se, for a next unsolicited or later solicited submission contract, after the writer has a leg to stand on of a proven revenue producer. For example, a writer's first invitation right of an original solicited submission for a subsequent edition or publication, an original content anthology or special edition, perhaps, and, of course, the publisher's right of first refusal.

Since all of the above became somewhat standard publication business model options, publishers developed a wariness of derivative works over which they have little, if any, legal, contractual control, for a self-derivative work that might reflect negatively upon a prior publisher, maybe.

A writer's best practice for the self's derivative works is effective communication: Notify a first publisher of a soon to debut novel derivative of the short story; maybe timely offer or provide annotated excerpts from the novel, the latter if requested; notify of and include a respectful acknowledgment of first publication, as determined to be published, within the novel's pages, more or less a bibliographic cite, less formal than for a research paper; communicate a sincere thank you and praise of the first-publication digest's activities on one's behalf and others in general, though, actually, additionally, a self-promotion strategy; and in no way anytime or anywhere in a public speech, print, or online disparage or otherwise comment negatively about the first-publication digest publisher. These principles avoid litigation snarls and are the practices of responsible professionals. Those also apply to a self-published derivative work.

If events do take a nasty turn, due to publisher concerns about excerpts from a first publication carried over to a self-derivative novel, regardless of whether identical or substantively revised, and a writer conducts professional business, tough luck for the first-publication publisher. The copyright is a writer's rights anymore, except for a few digest publishers that buy a short-work manuscript's rights entire, even the right to change the writer byline to whomever else's name the house deigns.

The former, the tough luck occasion, unfortunately, that house might be a bridge burnt. Then quietly let it alone and move on to brighter and livelier, responsible professionals. We who follow will know and not speak out of school about the burnt house, probably take our wallets and pens elsewhere; no one else will care.

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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby vjalrik » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:54 pm

I think the pay rates might be another consideration for short fiction. Even if you have the rights back already or only published on your blog, if you sell a story with that material in it you're technically reprinting it. You could make the argument that it's a new piece of work, but some editors might think you're just trying to get new pay on old work.
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orbivillein
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby orbivillein » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:25 am

Scalables is the publication business model principle of resales and optional subsidiary rights placements, as much a facet for writers' considerations as publishers and agents'. Digest reprints and book anthologies might earn and, therefore, pay more than a first-publication sale. Might not. Short story collections are another resale practice. Scholastic readers, anthology omnibuses used for literature courses, also resell a first publication. Not to mention, copyright clearinghouses, course pack copy shops, and serial publication content distributors collect limited-use license fees, grant such licenses for excerpt reprints on behalf of copyright holders, and remit distributed revenues to copyright holders.

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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby morganb » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:06 am

orbivillein wrote:Scalables is the publication business model principle of resales and optional subsidiary rights placements, as much a facet for writers' considerations as publishers and agents'. Digest reprints and book anthologies might earn and, therefore, pay more than a first-publication sale. Might not. Short story collections are another resale practice. Scholastic readers, anthology omnibuses used for literature courses, also resell a first publication. Not to mention, copyright clearinghouses, course pack copy shops, and serial publication content distributors collect limited-use license fees, grant such licenses for excerpt reprints on behalf of copyright holders, and remit distributed revenues to copyright holders.


Orbivillein -- I bet you could make a KILLING writing contracts and other legal documents yourself! wotf001

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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby vjalrik » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:04 am

orbivillein wrote:Scalables is the publication business model principle of resales and optional subsidiary rights placements, as much a facet for writers' considerations as publishers and agents'. Digest reprints and book anthologies might earn and, therefore, pay more than a first-publication sale. Might not. Short story collections are another resale practice. Scholastic readers, anthology omnibuses used for literature courses, also resell a first publication. Not to mention, copyright clearinghouses, course pack copy shops, and serial publication content distributors collect limited-use license fees, grant such licenses for excerpt reprints on behalf of copyright holders, and remit distributed revenues to copyright holders.

I'm not saying don't reprint - you should sell your work as many times and in as many ways as possible. I'm just agreeing that you have to be upfront about it, and that might cause problems in the original poster's case of scaling a flash piece to a short story. Most markets pay half rate for reprints, if they accept reprints at all, and I suspect most would just reject a combo piece rather than try to figure out how much should be paid at which rate. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I personally would just avoid it and write new material. Writing in the same universe is great, adapting a piece for different media (ie, short story to novel) is great, but I think flash to short story is gonna be a tougher sell.
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orbivillein
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Re: Can I plagiarize my own material?

Postby orbivillein » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:16 am

morganb wrote:
orbivillein wrote:Scalables is the publication business model principle of resales and optional subsidiary rights placements, as much a facet for writers' considerations as publishers and agents'. Digest reprints and book anthologies might earn and, therefore, pay more than a first-publication sale. Might not. Short story collections are another resale practice. Scholastic readers, anthology omnibuses used for literature courses, also resell a first publication. Not to mention, copyright clearinghouses, course pack copy shops, and serial publication content distributors collect limited-use license fees, grant such licenses for excerpt reprints on behalf of copyright holders, and remit distributed revenues to copyright holders.


Orbivillein -- I bet you could make a KILLING writing contracts and other legal documents yourself!

~Morgan

Though formal and informal student of intellectual property law -- not a lawyer, I am an editor, who need know at least to consult legal counsel -- might prompt a bullet point or two for writer, editor, agent, and publisher negotiation and contract considerations.


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