If I have a web site where I solicit ideas from readers and personally write them into full stories for free, who owns the stories I write?

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If I have a web site where I solicit ideas from readers and personally write them into full stories for free, who owns the stories I write?

I run a web site where I offer to write stories for my readers. After receiving a short, one-sentence story idea from a reader, I develop it into a full story and post it on my web site for free. Later on, if I want to publish an anthology of these stories in print, will I own the rights to them, since I’m the one who actually wrote them? What kind of wording should I use on my web site that will inform the reader once they submit an idea, they’re agreeing to let me use the idea for my own purposes?

Asked on July 20, 2012 under Business Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you simply receive ideas from people that you end up writing stories about on your own, you own the stories since you created them.

As to wording that you want to have on your website that the ideas submitted are to be used for the owners of the website's purposes alone, you should consult with a business attorney to come up with the particular wording that suits the specific needs of your website business.


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