What is a Shared World?
For those who don’t know, a shared world project is generally considered one in which the setting is created by the publishers, with writers invited to tell original stories in that setting.
“The setting” could include a variety of things — not just a physical location, but key concepts that define the world or significant characters who already inhabit it. Each new writer can then introduce their own characters and locations, which ultimately results in an ever-changing world for other contributors to explore and develop.
Sounds great, right?
Yes, it does! Wait, who’s asking who which questions here now?
Apparently you are.
…whatever, there is a significant factor that demands consideration:
What does multiple authorship mean for copyright?
Shared World copyright can be a complicated thing, because it has to take into account original creative material coming not just from the publishers but also all the writers who contribute — but we’re going to make it as easy as we can:
- The core features of our story world are considered Creative Commons. As publishers, we are providing a foundation for others to build on and add to.
- All we ask is that contributors not kill any characters or destroy any things created by the publisher (at least, not permanently!). That way we avoid complications and contradictions should other contributors want to use something that is unexpectedly no longer in existence.
- However, all original content written for the anthology is the protected property of the writer in question. That means if you create something unique and want to kill or blow it up, go right ahead; everyone else, hands-off until further notice (publishers included!).
- In the event of future anthologies or related projects, the publishers will consult with existing contributors regarding whether they want elements of their original material to become part of the Creative Commons resource.
What does this mean for me and my story?
Inclusion in this anthology does require a six month period of exclusivity; however…
- After the exclusivity period has passed, the publishers will in no way impede any contributor from selling their submission as a reprint, or from self-publishing it independently.
- All we request is that any reprinting includes appropriate acknowledgement that the story was first published in this anthology.
And what was that you mentioned about future projects?
We’re going to take this one step at a time, but if people enjoy writing for and reading this anthology there will be more to come. The Pacific City Manifesto is waiting to be published!
Any more questions?
Leave a comment below (or contact the editor, see here) and we’ll try to provide a useful answer.