One of the things that most worries writers, storytellers and authors in general when publishing their stories on Wattpad is the fact of not knowing how to protect your work on Wattpad.
It is also uncertain to not know how to have copyright on Wattpad and if it is possible to publish your story and not have it plagiarised on other accounts or websites. But even worse is not knowing how to defend your right to your story if such actions should occur. However, it is time for you to know the answers, and in this article, you will clear up all those doubts, and I assure you that by the time you finish reading this publication you will be motivated to upload your work on Wattpad!
What happens if you publish a story on Wattpad?
On Wattpad, as on many other sites, if you publish a story you are subject to the rules, regulations and policies required by the platform. Likewise, your story is protected, so your rights as an author can be defended by the platform against plagiarism from other users and even outside of Wattpad.
This is something that very few people are aware of as soon as they get to Wattpad, in fact, most people wonder how to have author’s rights on Wattpad and when they don’t have an answer they limit themselves to publishing their works for fear of being plagiarised.
However, you should also know that although the platform protects your stories from piracy, there are some considerations to take into account in the sense of knowing how to identify when a work has been plagiarized or what is really considered as such; since, for example, for a story to be attributed plagiarism, it must meet certain characteristics that I will explain below.
So if you want to start publishing on this platform or you want to know how to take care of your already published works, the best thing to do is to inform yourself so that you know how to protect your works on Wattpad. So, to make it easier for you, I’ll tell you everything you can do from now on.
How to protect your work on Wattpad?
The main requirement for protection is to know what is threatening us or what we must protect ourselves from, and yes, we know that we must protect our works on Wattpad from plagiarism to assert our copyright, but when is a work really considered plagiarism? When can we say that our work has been plagiarized? Only then can we know what steps to take to protect it.
When is work really considered plagiarised?
According to the information I was able to gather from the different articles on Wattpad; “How do we protect your stories”, “Reporting Copyright Infringement”, “Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright”, “Infringing Adaptations”, among others, for a work to be considered as plagiarism, it must have been copied almost verbatim or as the platform itself indicates:
“Copyright only protects the physical representation of an idea, not the idea itself. Unfortunately, similar subject matter or similar elements do not constitute copyright infringement”. Wattpad
Thus, they are considered plagiarism:
Adaptations of works that do not have the permission of the original author. Regardless of whether or not the work is attributed to the author, you need the author’s permission to publish. If you have the author’s permission to make the adaptation, then you are not infringing. “Translations, rewrites, sequels or transcriptions are examples of adaptations that need permission to publish.”
You also cannot publish a story by another author and change the accompanying elements, such as the title, images, names or genders of the characters.
The use of third party images or covers is also considered a copyright violation.
As for what is not considered plagiarism, the following should be mentioned:
Take inspiration from the third party works to create one, i.e. if it is similar in the plot or story itself but not copying fragments, events or writing them in your own words.
The titles should be similar or the same. There are millions of novels, films, etc. that have the same name but their plots are different so they are not considered as plagiarism.
Knowing this information and knowing what we can and cannot defend, it is time to know how to protect your work on Wattpad.
What to do to protect your work on Wattpad
I already mentioned that once published, every work is protected on Wattpad, so as an author you are protected by the platform. However, when you upload your story you can choose the type of copyright that will apply to it; you can do this in the advanced options and the most used ones are: All Rights Reserved, Creative Commons and Public Domain.
The best thing to do is to study the advantages of each of the licences so that you can choose the one that suits you best for the protection of your work. You should know that with the “Public domain” option you allow anyone to copy your work or do whatever they want with it. Consider also that these options will only serve to protect the content of your authorship, so they do not apply to famous phrases, quotes, films, song lyrics, etc.
Another thing you can do to make your stories even more protected is to register them in your country. This will add extra protection when you need to make a copyright infringement claim.
This requirement is not mandatory on Wattpad as your work is already protected by the platform, but the platform does suggest that: As the copyright owner of your original work, you have the right to submit a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request to any website where you find your work is being infringed.
How to avoid fanfic plagiarism on Wattpad
Did you know that on Wattpad even fanfics are protected by copyright? Well, yes, the platform also protects this type of work when it remains original, as in these cases the platform does not consider them to be adaptations or other types of content that require authorisation from the author of the original work on the basis of which it was created.
In fact, what Wattpad says about the copyright of fanfiction is that: “In copyright, there is a difference between “fanfiction” and an “adaptation”. Fanfiction is the use of existing characters or settings (e.g. Percy Jackson and Camp Half-Blood) in an original story.”
So to avoid plagiarising fanfic you should just treat it as you would any other story, as Wattpad protects it and prevents it from being copied. But when that happens, you have all the power to turn to Wattpad to make plagiarism claims.
What are Wattpad’s rules with copyright?
Now, we already know how to protect your work on Wattpad and that the platform does enforce your rights as an author, that it does protect your stories and fanfics. But when our copyrights are violated, what does the platform do? Wattpad claims to be very diligent when it comes to enforcing copyright infringement, and they are very clear in their articles where they specify that they do not accept and are not tolerant of copyright violations.
Now you may wonder why, if they are so diligent, can we see so many copied works? Well, on the one hand, we basically have to remember that all similar works, even if we consider them, are not exactly plagiarism. On the other hand, we know that on Wattpad there are millions of stories so the platform also leaves the plagiarism reports from the authors to find them, that’s why if your work has been plagiarised, you can report the copyright infringement and in that respect, Wattpad will do the following:
Create infringements on users who have copied the content.
Whether or not you process the plagiarism request and demand Wattpad’s removal, the platform removes the story, users or accounts that have plagiarized content.
If the reported users have more than one infringement, the platform also removes them.
If it is an external website that has plagiarised your story, the platform supports you and tells you how to proceed.
How to have copyright on Wattpad
I know you came to this article to find out how to have copyright on Wattpad and I’m sure that at this point it’s clear to you, but let’s summarise it anyway:
You have rights as an author from the moment you publish your story on the platform.
Fanfics are also protected by copyright.
If you register your story in your country you are adding more security to your work and that will help Wattpad protect you in case your work is copied on external platforms.
In short, Wattpad enforces your rights as an author. Simply, when it comes to plagiarism, you must report it to the platform and they will defend your rights, just remember to make sure that it really is plagiarism.
And, if not knowing how to copyright on Wattpad was what was stopping you from starting to publish your stories, then don’t wait any longer, go ahead and publish your work and don’t forget to infringe copyright because you will be penalised.