Copyright Policies and Advice

DarkPoetry Copyright Policy

Works posted on DarkPoetry must be the original work of the author.  Under no circumstances may you, as a member, post any works that you did not personally invent.  Violations of this rule usually result in the violator being completely banned from DarkPoetry, and we really don't want to ban you, so take care to be original.

Protecting Your Rights

If you only write for your own pleasure or catharsis, it may not be worth it to worry a lot about copyright law.  But if you are considering making writing your profession, careful attention to copyright is very prudent, and consulting with a competent attorney about your career plans would be a particularly good idea.

In this section I will tell you in a general way how copyright works (in the U.S. and most western countries), how to protect your rights to your work, and in the next section, what to expect in resolution of disputes.

Copyright is supposed to be very simple. When you write something, it is copyrighted. Yes, right then, nothing else need happen beyond the creation of a new, unique work.

But it's never so simple when there's a financial interest in what you create.

There are two ways to formally protect your work. The first is very easy, if not officially sanctioned and the second costs $30 and possibly other fees.

Poor Wo/Man's Copyright

  1. Print a legible copy of your work, or write it clearly on a piece of paper.
  2. Put it in a sealed package, the more tamper-proof it is the better.
  3. Mail it to yourself. The postmark on the package will date it.
  4. Do not open it! If there ever is a dispute, you can take it into court unopened for examination and opening under official auspices. If there is no sign of tampering on it, you will have a good case. (in my non-lawyer opinion)
  5. Place it in a safe deposit box or similar place

If you wish to use this method outside a court of law, perhaps mailing yourself several of these is a wise choice.

Official Copyright

Registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office costs $30 and takes 4-5 months for your certificate to arrive. You can pay them $325/hr for expedited service but that is rarely worthwhile for our purposes. [more info on fees]

If you write only for pleasure, maybe all this trouble is not worth it for you.'s Policy on Copyright Disputes

If you haven't copied someone else's work, and nobody on DarkPoetry has copied your works, good!  But if you're in that unfortunate situation, here's how we deal with it.

We will provide any information requested by a court of law, or at our discretion another party which acts to mediate a dispute. Information not immediately relevant to the dispute may not be provided to protect the privacy of our members unless it is required by a court of law.

Generally you will get the best results handling the problem yourself. Every work on the site can be commented on, and a comment pointing out that a work is used without permission or unlawfully often is all it takes to shame the posting person into taking it down.

If this is not the case, you have made attempts to contact the offending party, and not had any satisfactory response within a week's time we may get involved. Our criteria for removing a work on this grounds will be based on the following in order of importance:

  1. Officially Registered Copyright (please provide the certificate)
  2. Verifiable written proof (see poor wo/man's copyright)
  3. Work's Original Creation Date Timestamp in our database (oldest work is usually the original)

On satisfying the standard of proof, the work will be removed and other disciplinary action may be taken at our discretion, typically a long-term ban on the user's account.

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