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Revealing author's name?


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I wonder what the feeling is about using one's own name when posting a story on a site.

I see some people have no problem using what appears to be their full name whilst others remain decidedly hidden behind a user name with no hint to their real name.

I can understand there are many situations where it would be wise to have our full names concealed but what do you think are reasons for using one's own name where dangers are not apparent? Or are dangers ever present?

As I am about to post my first story I am wondering if I should stick to DesDownunder as I have used it for many years or should I think about alternatives including my own name?

Is copyright affected by not using you own name?

Your thoughts appreciated.

:icon_geek:

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Is copyright affected by not using you own name?

It depends on the country, because copyright law is often different in different countries. It's a very complicated subject, and there's a good discussion on Wikipedia here.

I know in the U.S., there's an "implied" copyright for anything created by a writer or artist. Technically, you don't have to file a copyright application with the government office, because you still have certain rights and protections, but if somebody did rip you off, you'd have a better case in court if you had an actual copyright certificate (which is very inexpensive, like $25 or so in the U.S.).

I believe your real name need only be used on the copyright form, not on the published work per se. But the reality is, you don't have a lot of real protection on the net. Once something is out there, people have the ability to use it and copy it. You could spend a lifetime (and a lot of dough) trying to chase people violating your copyrights. Noted fantasy/SF author Harlan Ellison spent about $300,000 in legal fees chasing a guy who had scanned a half-dozen of his books and uploaded them as text files to various newsgroups. Harlan had a hard time understanding that much of the Net is "the wild and wooly west," and a lot of the net is what I call "vaguely organized chaos," so there's no one person to sue. He did eventually track down the original poster, and got him to stop, but it was kind of a pyrrhic victory at that point.

To get back to your original point: I think whether or not to use your real name is a personal choice. I can see both sides of it, but I figure, there's a lot of wacky people out there on the net, and maybe it's not a great idea to use your real name with anything controversial (like erotic fiction), because you never know who might want to find out where you are and hassle you. I've had a few spooky encounters with fans in email, even a few near-stalkers, and I'm glad they only knew me by my handle.

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Thanks Pecman,

I'm not so worried about people pinching my stuff. I figure they'll do that anyway. The thing I was getting at (not very clearly) was that if they saw I used my real name they may think twice. Oh well what's it matter?

I don't mind someone copying my work as much as I dislike the idea that they may make money out of something I have provided for nothing.

Australian copyright laws are similar. Put C inside a circle and I believe it is copyrighted here.

As you say it is hard to protect anything on the net.

"vaguely organized chaos," great phrase I love it.

I guess I am more concerned with as you say some crazy stalking me or trying to make life difficult for me.

I mean I really wouldn't want to be stalked by some grubby little older woman trying to convert me to worshipping her chosen deity.

On the other-hand perhaps I could cope with a 23 year-old twink trying to seduce me. (Fat chance). :icon_geek:

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To me, the issue is mainly one of safety. Once something is on the internet, it is very, very hard to take it back. If you have reasons for using a pseudonym or only part of your name, then ask yourself if those reasons are still valid? If the answer is yes, then keep using them.

The argument 'but no one who knows me will see this as they won't visit that site' is not valid. Google finds things very well. Someone pointed out that for a lot of people, if you type in your name and the word 'gay', then sites like AD and Gay Authors appear very fast if you are posting under your real name. I did a search on 'Graeme Gay" and AD was in the first few pages. If someone was trying to find out if I'm gay, and if I had used my full name, then their suspicions would be increased.

I had a site host contact me once because their access log files indicated that someone had been doing a search on 'graeme poofter' and stumbled across my 'New Brother' story. The site host was concerned that someone was trying to track me down. I told him I wasn't concerned -- Graeme is not that uncommon a name, and it was soon after the death of Graeme Kennedy (a major Australian TV personality who just happened to be gay).

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So I'd like to inject some current experience to this discussion. I have a story, posted on another site, that is listed under my real name. It's basically what could be categorized "fan-fic" in a round about sort of way. Most folks who have read and commented on the story have left positive comments, even when pointing out issues with my logic, etc. On the other hand, one left a comment that could be best categorized as threatinging, while another left a direct death threat. As a result, the Abraxas pen name was born.

I'd agree with Graeme's comments. Anything you do on the web leaves 'fingerprints' for lack of a better term, and those fingerprints are associated with either your real name, or your pen name. Given that there are people on the web who most definitely fit the profile of "Nut Job", you should really give some thought to how vulnerable you make yourself if you post under your real name. At this point in time, there is no benefit to changing things on my other story, but I learned my lesson and will never post anything online with my "real" name ever again.

The overwhelming majority of those reading our stories are good people, who will, at worst leave some constructive criticism and at best leave some words of praise for what we've struggled to develop and publish to the web. There are, however, that small minority who make it dangerous for us to be as candid as we would prefer. Like Des, I have faith in the good will of most people. It's the minority nut jobs we need to be concerned about.

My two cents...

Abraxas

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There is a lot of good on the web. What's bad on the web is hard to put up with, and it is all too easy to let the bad make us forget the good.

It is too easy to let our fears or our weak spots ... or our desire to make things right ... overcome our good sense.

My name as Blue (or adblue, at the GayAuthors forum) is there, and my given name is around. If it weren't for the rare, bad elements out there, I'd gladly use my real name.

It isn't so important whether we use pen names or our real names.

It is far more important for people to be around the web, to be just themselves, to do what they do so well: show friendship and varying opinions, and share laughs and tears.

When I see some of you clowning around, getting outrageous, or taking a topic into serious discussion -- or better yet, welcoming some new person who needs a place to belong, into the group -- that's why I'm here. I haven't forgotten what that feels like, and I know the rest of you haven't.

When I read a story that moves me or teaches me something, that's why I'm here.

Yes, that is precisely why I'm "Blue" or "adblue" anywhere. There are other reasons, too, but those are the most important.

Call it my gay agenda, I don't care.

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Well Blue on that stirring and inspiring speech and after everyone's wonderful contributions, I think I will keep using DesDownunder as the safe option.

Yes and if you ever move to the States... you can be DesUpYonder!

:icon1:

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