I wasn't sure, so I hope someone here can answer this question. It regards the website that skadder linked to. In a post he says that if an editor writes it in a letter then it is fair game (I am paraphrasing).
The way I understand copyright is if I write anything whether it is a story or just ramblings, that is copyrighted to me. If I send that story or ramblings to someone else, maybe like an editor to publish in a magazine, or just to my sister, that writing is still copyrighted to me.
So here is the question, if an editor sends me a rejection letter, isn't that letter copyrighted to the editor, and I shouldn't post it or try to sell it? Or maybe since he gives full credit to who wrote it, then the copyright doesn't apply?
Just something I was wondering when I read that post.
Everything that one writes is not automatically copyrighted. Otherwise, one would not have to acquire a copyright upon official publication. Even if something is copyrighted, a portion of it can still be reproduced as long as proper credit is given to the author. With those letters being as short as they are, I doubt a copyright could prevent someone from reproducing the entire letter as long as proper credit was given and there was no opportunity for profit.
When a significant portion of something is initially presented on the Internet in an open context, such as here, it can be considered first publication. This does not automatically copyright the piece, but instead provides support in proving authorship. The real problem arises when a publication does want to publish and copyright something, and they find out it is already available for free on the Internet.
To be honest, I hadn't even noticed that he was posting rejection letters, or if I did, I moved on to something else of interest without thinking much about it. I do find it intersting that people find out what is being said here so often. What do they do - Google themselves or their sites every day? Or do you think they are regular but silent visitors?