I publish a lot of ideas and stories in a personal blog and I see that someone is stealing my work. Can I sue them?

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Question: I was surfing the internet and found that someone has integrated a substantial amount of my work into a story they've written that I consider sordid.  What recourse do I have against this person?

Response:  What you have encountered is an impermissible derivation of your work.  The definition of a derivative work under 17 USC Section 101 is:  A "derivative work" is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted.  In this case your work has been transformed and without your permission.  Copyright law protects the integrity of your work under Section 106(A)(a)(3) which states an author has the right to " to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation, and any intentional distortion, mutilation, or modification of that work is a violation of that right."  Your first step should be to contact the infringer through a written letter requesting that they delete your passages from their work (note that your rights only extend to your own work; you cannot make claim to the infringer's own work).  If this is not done, you can notify the web host of the infringement.  Consult with an attorney experienced in copyright and other laws regarding this matter.

Answered by Sharon Cullars

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