Let's say I write down the first draft for my novel at work, because that's when inspiration strikes.

Let's say I write down the first draft for my novel at work, because that's when inspiration strikes.
Let's say I rework the draft at home on my own time.
Who owns the copyright to that work? Can my employer claim any rights to my work because I wrote my first draft while on the clock, even though the final product is on my own time?
I am not employed to write novels.

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Just don't tell them. They won't be able to prove shit. You did it on your own time, you hear me?

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >They won't be able to prove shit
      There might be pictures. I am too poor to live on my own and my roommates are cretins who shouldn't be allowed to exist.
      There might not be anything visible in the pictures, but frick if I know for sure. It was years ago. I don't remember what I was writing then but I'm still afraid it could be used against me because of possible similarities.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Just don't tell them. They won't be able to prove shit. You did it on your own time, you hear me?

        Still OP here. To better explain:
        During the pandemic I was allowed work from home.
        I remember back then writing down shit whenever inspiration struck me. At some point, my idiot roommates thought it would be absolutely hilarious to snap photos of me while working from home.
        Did they catch me writing down a novel idea during a dead moment? I have no idea.
        I have written other stuff since then and this final shit I have now I am sure it's 100% on my time, yet at the same time I have no idea if it really is. I have lost my pandemic writings. I don't have a timeline of my stuff. But what if the details are the same, can't my employer claim that I infringed their copyright?

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          And by "what if the details are the same" I mean "Back in 2020 there was probably a story while on the clock with these exact characters and plot, then destroyed it, and I wrote another story that's exactly the same in 2024, who owns the copyright to the 2024 one (plot and characters) now?"

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        [...]
        Still OP here. To better explain:
        During the pandemic I was allowed work from home.
        I remember back then writing down shit whenever inspiration struck me. At some point, my idiot roommates thought it would be absolutely hilarious to snap photos of me while working from home.
        Did they catch me writing down a novel idea during a dead moment? I have no idea.
        I have written other stuff since then and this final shit I have now I am sure it's 100% on my time, yet at the same time I have no idea if it really is. I have lost my pandemic writings. I don't have a timeline of my stuff. But what if the details are the same, can't my employer claim that I infringed their copyright?

        lmao. reminds me of this.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    you own it, unless you work for some company like Disney who takes all the rights of things you make on the job.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      All companies have clauses like that.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        No. If you work at Old Navy folding clothed and write a novel, Old Navy does not own it.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          My uncle is a software engineer for AT&T and has a clause like that in his contract. No, not just for code.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          You people don't have a job and it shows/
          It's a standard clause in almost every contract. In the company I work for, even welders and electricians have it in case they invent a more efficient tool to do something or they doodle a cartoon character, one of our designers sees it while randomly walking around the office, and it turns into an ad campaign's mascot (which actually happened at my last job).

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I've worked in colleges, hospitals, and museums and none of my contracts ever had anything like that.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            My contract has it. It makes me suicidal.
            >get another job
            I apply. Nobody responds.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >they doodle a cartoon character, one of our designers sees it while randomly walking around the office, and it turns into an ad campaign's mascot (which actually happened at my last job)
            sure dude

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    There would have to be a contract in place which stipulates that everything you write on company time is their property but that would not be defensible in most situations. Companies can get by stipulating that everything you write on company computers is their property assuming they also ban the use of company computers for personal use. Your contract will tell you, if you lack a contract the most they can do is fire you under a pretense such as working on personal projects while on the clock.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >that would not be defensible in most situations
      Consider this hypothetical scenario:

      Rowling writes Harry Potter while on the clock.
      Rowling destroys her writings.
      Rowling writes Harry Potter again off the clock and this time publishes it.

      Assume Rowling writes the same HP every time. What then?

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        There would have to be a contract in place which stipulates that everything you write on company time is their property but that would not be defensible in most situations. Companies can get by stipulating that everything you write on company computers is their property assuming they also ban the use of company computers for personal use. Your contract will tell you, if you lack a contract the most they can do is fire you under a pretense such as working on personal projects while on the clock.

        Addendum.
        The company learns that Rowling wrote HP while on the clock. Assume a colleague snitched.
        They don't have a copy of HP in their systems because Rowling destroyed it and just rewrote everything later off her memory. But they have a photo of Rowling allegedly writing a page of HP while she was supposed to be working, a page that doesn't exist outside of that photo and Rowling's head.
        What's the outcome here?

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          It would probably be dismissed as frivolous unless they had really tribal lawyers and wanted the bad PR that comes from pursuing it. As far as I'm aware, you could be sued for wages for the time used, and that time used would have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Anything more than that and there would need to be computer logs of wasting company time and resources. People have been hit by that using the office copier for personal use.

          Standard procedure when such contracts are in place is to do personal work on your personal property, keep logs that show you used it outside of work and outside of business hours, and constantly forge your daybook entries so that if there is any doubt, it can't be proven. Some places have tighter contracts than that and you have to quit before you go into a profitable venture in any field. And still update all your logs and working copies just in case.

          Don't take me as an expert in this, I only work adjacent to a field where moonlighting and intellectual property bullshit like this is common and pretty well known and accepted to some degree. It's a case by case and contract by contract thing that varies by state and field, and how far one creative work is from that of the employer.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I believe the main points besides the contents of the written contract are: how closely related the work is to the normal output of the company, whether the company has contract hours in a salaried position, and whether company time and resources can be proven to have been used in the creation of the work. Most people are caught doing research on the company computer or running manuscripts through the copier. Academics have a messier relationship with creative output and intellectual property than one would think, but the contracts are more lenient or no one would teach and do research for a university.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I'll take my software engineering job as an example.
            >how closely related the work is to the normal output of the company
            Not at all. Writing fiction is not part of my job duties and is generally not in line with my work.
            >the company has contract hours in a salaried position
            I am going to assume this doesn't apply to me because I get paid by the hour, more hours = more pay.
            >whether company time and resources can be proven to have been used in the creation of the work
            Company resources no, I write on my physical notepad bought by me. Company time? Eh... there are dead moments at work and I can't be just staring into the void all the time, Jim. Is using your equipment more important than using company time? Let's say I decided I was on break in that moment.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Then it would revert to what your contract explicitly states about creative work and intellectual property, which is negotiable at hire and usually amended if it has nothing to do with the work you are employed for. After the fact, eh.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >what your contract explicitly states about creative work and intellectual property
            It's anything but explicit. "Everything you create within the course of employment is ours" but there is no definition of course of employment. Is it company time? The women in my office take selfies in the workplace all the time, does my boss own their selfies? Is it job duties? I'm a software engineer, I have to assume my boss owns my code no matter what, but I don't think taking duck-faced selfies falls into a job duty for my female coworkers. Does my boss have any chance of suing my instaprostitute coworkers for the copyright of their 'artistic' instaselfies?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Has anyone actually amended their contract for the better. I am sure if I told someone I have been pursuing creative endeavors at work they would just seize the opportunity to take it from me,

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Yes, especially if you have established projects like an app or published writing or an ongoing webcomic or something.

            [...]
            >jot down short story in my personal notepad the office
            >put paper through secure shredder
            >write it from scratch at home while off the clock, and I have excellent memory
            From a legal standpoint is it the same product, or is it two different products?

            It's a dicey issue and I'm not a lawyer.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >It's a dicey issue
            🙁
            Time to kill myself.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            What stops an employer from simply seizing your writing?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            To add, they're generally using a boilerplate contract and Legal will amend it if it's obvious that your work has little to no relation to your job capacity. Most people create nothing, and the ones that do tend to be

            You people don't have a job and it shows/
            It's a standard clause in almost every contract. In the company I work for, even welders and electricians have it in case they invent a more efficient tool to do something or they doodle a cartoon character, one of our designers sees it while randomly walking around the office, and it turns into an ad campaign's mascot (which actually happened at my last job).

            machinists, programmers, or in the creative and industrial arts.

            What stops an employer from simply seizing your writing?

            The reminder that you know where their kids go to school.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I'm sure Bezos is sooooooo afraid you're going to do shit to his kids.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            What if the boss and his kids are in India?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            It would probably be dismissed as frivolous unless they had really tribal lawyers and wanted the bad PR that comes from pursuing it. As far as I'm aware, you could be sued for wages for the time used, and that time used would have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Anything more than that and there would need to be computer logs of wasting company time and resources. People have been hit by that using the office copier for personal use.

            Standard procedure when such contracts are in place is to do personal work on your personal property, keep logs that show you used it outside of work and outside of business hours, and constantly forge your daybook entries so that if there is any doubt, it can't be proven. Some places have tighter contracts than that and you have to quit before you go into a profitable venture in any field. And still update all your logs and working copies just in case.

            Don't take me as an expert in this, I only work adjacent to a field where moonlighting and intellectual property bullshit like this is common and pretty well known and accepted to some degree. It's a case by case and contract by contract thing that varies by state and field, and how far one creative work is from that of the employer.

            >jot down short story in my personal notepad the office
            >put paper through secure shredder
            >write it from scratch at home while off the clock, and I have excellent memory
            From a legal standpoint is it the same product, or is it two different products?

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    homie, get over your autism. Unless you're working as a creative (writing scripts or ads or articles or whatever) nobody is gonna think about claiming any rights to the shit schizo novel you wrote.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I wouldn't put it past some private owner small business to do that shit after the fact if you had clear success. Those dudes are psychopaths. You want to prevent any chance of that.

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Who cares? Your paranoid ass won't even sell 10 copies anyways

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    pynchon wrote gravity's rainbow while at work at boeing. you'll be fine

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The 70’s were a different time, man.

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Can my employer claim any rights to my work

    I think you are jumping the gun here. The chance of your manuscript being worth claiming any right to is very slim. You should be more worried about getting fired for working on personal projects while you are on company time and using their resources.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Stop thinking that employers will just take things from employees if they have value. Employers lay claim to all sort of worthless shit just because they can.

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    All copyrights belong to the writer unless explicitly contracted otherwise.

    Look at your employment contract. It should say whether works on company time, or for company projects is a work for hire. Be careful! Many (disgusting) companies put these clauses in, even though it is not part of your job description (along with arbitration clauses, and at-will-work clauses).

  9. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    NEVER DO ANYTHING OF YOUR OWN ON BUSINESS NETWORK OR LAPTOP . THEY CAN AND WILL CLAIM THAT SHIT

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