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Robert Henning


I write short stories as a hobby. I have my own web site (non-profit) where I post stories and poetry for other amateur writers so they might have their work seen. No one is ever charged anything for having their work posted. My only reason for making the site was to help amateur writers like myself.

Each story or poem has a warning posted saying that “This material is the exclusive property of the submitting author.” I have some of my own work posted at my site also. A few days ago I decided to copyright a couple of my short stories. However after looking over the forms (Form TX and short Form TX) I’m a little concerned. Does the fact I've had them on my web site mean they have been published?
I’m very concerned because if posting them is considered publication, then I am in fact hurting these authors if a magazine etc. wants to publish one of their stories. Prior publication I am told lessons the value, and interest with some publishers.

I appreciate any help you might be able to give.
Robert Henning
[email protected]


Senior Member
If the website is accessible to the Internet world at large, then posting on your website would in all likelihood constitute publishing. If your website access is limited to, say, the group of authors that contribute, then it is possible that the work may be considered unpublished.

I too occassionally write short stories for fun, and was interested in putting some of my stories up on my website to get some feedback. I did a little research, though, and found that if you put your work on a website, it is unlikely that a publisher will ever buy it, since it is hard for a publisher to make money on something that people can get for free.

You get a copyright on your work as soon as it is "fixed in a tangible medium", of course, and you can still register your copyright if you wish, but if it has been published, it will probably be quite difficult to get a publisher interested.

This info comes from my own research as a amateur writer and my copyright class in school, and is in no way a legal opinion -- not by a long shot!

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