Monday, December 01, 2008

Disclaimer: December 2008

It's past two in the morning, and I'm tired.

One month ago, I promised in a disclaimer post that I would spend the whole of November trying to write at least ten short stories — original, unpublished short stories — in response to an inability to churn out fifty thousand words for a novel that my schedule cannot accommodate. Ten short stories is itself a challenge for someone who spends whole weekday evenings at the office talking to people from halfway across the world... but I felt that it was a more reasonable challenge that I could accomplish.

Now, many sleepless hours later, I've placed the finishing touches on the tenth one. Yay.

And yes, I've got notes coming on each of them. Just watch for this in a future post.

The mere fact that I've literally slaved over each and every one of these stories is basis for my disclaimers and pseudo-legal text. Moreover, the fact that I worked against an artificial deadline has no bearing on the legality of my demands: I worked hard on each and every one of these pieces, I put them together completely from scratch, and anyone who decides to take them from me and use them under their own names will be the recipient of a well-deserved and righteous beating.

But that isn't the essence of these disclaimers. No, the point of this constant feature is to remind people that there are original minds out there who can come up with these sorts of things. The fact they they choose to share these with you on the Internet does not mean that you can immediately do with them as you will. You must follow the guidelines set forth by their creators in order to ensure that they are used in the correct and proper context, with the right attributions. If these creators (and me) would come down harshly on any trespassers, it is because they represent a threat to our existence — the base realization that when anyone can steal our work, then it leaves us with no further motivation to keep creating new works.

And on top of all that, there is the constant question: As opposed to taking other peoples' works, why not come up with your own? You never know just how good you are until you try.

Now I go through the motions again, in case they are not familiar to you yet:

1. Everything written on this weblog is an original work as created by Sean, its owner and maintainer. The only exceptions are those items that belong to other creators, for which I am always careful to provide acknowledgments (often relating to footnotes or links to their online sites).

2. If you do not agree with the manner by which your material is presented on this weblog, you may simply contact me and cordially discuss how to resolve the situation. I neither want anything to do with the Varsitarian approach, nor do I want anonymous trolls pestering me — these moves will only succeed in irritating me more than I normally feel. I am a perfectly reasonable (and perhaps even generous) man, and I can adjust, remove or even provide compensation for articles as required. You just have to ask.

3. Similarly, you can also contact me if you want to use anything from this blog for any purpose. I will need to know the reason for which you need the work, and I will need to make certain that it is not used in a threatening, harmful, or out-of-context manner. I reserve the right to ask for compensation, but this is unlikely — I'll probably just request for acknowledgment and a link to this web site. As above, you just have to ask.

4. In case my above statement was not clear, I will note it again: Do not take anything from this site with the intent of using it under your own name. Do not take excerpts from this site with the intention of quoting them for malicious purposes. Do not quote any article here out of its original context. Contrary to popular opinion, altering or rephrasing select parts of a given work does not automatically make it your own; do not do this.

5. I support the Creative Commons License, which allows for free use of my material across the Internet under the stipulations that I have given both above and below. There is a link to my reserved tenets at the bottom of my right-hand sidebar on this site, which offers me a form of legal protection in exchange for my adherence.

Now I'm really tired, and if you'll excuse me, it's time that I got some sleep.

As this will be my last disclaimer for the year, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Hopefully we don't do anything that will eventually give us coal in our stocking this year.

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