There has been a lot of discussion in the past about licensing, authorial rights, and concerns raised about users posting stories written by other authors for a while now and we’ve reached a consensus that is going to be implemented on the wiki very soon. This blog is to lay out the rule and respond to any concerns and clarify any misconceptions that come with this change in the comments.
As I’m sure many of you are aware, the internet landscape has changed quite a bit with more focus (rightfully so) being placed on the rights of authors who write creepypastas and other horror literature. While I know that creepypastas have their roots in people copy/pasting them around without much in way of citation or accreditation, those times have changed and continuing to do this is not only detrimental to authors, but actively harms the rest of the community. As many of you are authors yourselves, you realize how much time and effort go into researching, planning, writing, and re-writing your stories before posting them. It is a lot of work and it deserves recognition. Some authors have spent years building up a catalogue of stories and a fanbase, honing their craft, and getting anthologies and novels published through reputable sources. Recently we have seen Youtube channels who have failed to properly cite authors/artists/composers/etc. or not get their permission to use their intellectual properties that have experienced a lot of (deserved) blowback and we are taking steps to ensure that this wiki respects the rights of creators. I’m not going to list the Youtube accounts or people in question as this isn’t about them or discussing the nuances of Fair Use and licensing; this is about us and what we’re doing to improve the wiki and ensure the rights of authors on the internet.
In the past, whenever a story was posted by someone, we would cite the original author (as they usually weren’t given credit), track down their contact information, and reach out to them for permission to host their story on the wiki. This past year I’ve messaged a dozen or so authors on Reddit, Wattpad, Quora, and other sites for their retroactive approval after their stories were shared to the wiki. Other users and admin have done the same to make sure the authors were aware of their stories being posted here and were okay with it. Unfortunately, in doing this, there was the possibility that the shared story may be misattributed to a CC-BY-SA license that could be non-compliant with their copyright and used in a manner that is against their wishes while we tried to track down the original author or while we waited for a response. The previous issues with Michael Emmering, Michael Nemeth, the problems highlighted by a reddit thread raising awareness about people who take stories without citing authors that were attempting to sell them have reinforced this need for change. This rule is being enforced to prevent that and to do what is best for authors.
As of today, this wiki will no longer accept users posting stories written by other authors unless you have their permission (that you are able to back-up with a screencap, copy of an email, or other means of proving they allow for their story to be shared here) or their works are in the public domain and fit the criteria of being in the horror genre. Any story that is shared without this permission being shared with an admin or the author’s approval being made explicit will be deleted and a warning will be issued. Repeatedly failing to properly cite authors will result in a lengthy ban as it is not only disrespectful to the author who wrote the story, but may also be detrimental to them should they try to publish their story or should someone decide to be shady and monetize their story without their approval.
I’d like to end this with a final note to anyone who may be bristling against this change and are wondering why we are doing this. The answer is simple: We are doing this to respect the rights of authors who spent a lot of time crafting stories that inspired you to share them. The likely reason for why you are sharing a story is because you enjoyed it so much that you want other people to see it and get it out to a wider audience. Why not contact the author and let them know you enjoyed their work and ask for their permission to share it on the wiki rather than doing something that may actively undermine their license? Thanks for reading and understanding.
TL;DR: This wiki will no longer be accepting users sharing stories written by other authors without their approval.