A while ago I thought I would dip my toes into the waters of getting paid for submitting my writing to Associated Content. I never intended to make a living off of it, but hey, if I can get paid for thingsI write for free on my own time, why not?

I submitted an article, apparently for “non-exclusive licensing”. It was declined, citing copyright infringement. I emailed them asking about it. This is what I wrote to them:

I submitted a paper I wrote entitled ‘The Bible’s Methods of Social Control’ under this account. It was declined, citing copyright issues. I just want to clarify that as far as I can tell, the paper has only been “published” on my personal blog at www.wistfulwriter.com. I can remove the blog post. I was not aware that it was considered “published” even on a personal blog or website. Please advise how I can proceed to have my work reconsidered.

Here’s what they said four days later:

Hi Wistful Writer,

You submitted that article under our non-Exclusive licensing agreement, which stipulates that the piece has not been previously published. You were also asked during the submission process if the piece had been previously published and answered no when you obviously knew it had been. Thank you.

I don’t appreciate the unproductive and somewhat snarky tone of the email. It’s very presumptuous. They assume that I “obviously knew” the article had been “published”.See, as a complete Internet article writer newbie, I had no clue that simply posting something on the Internet could be considered publishing. Of course, in retrospect, I suppose that the copyright at the bottom of all blogs has something to do with it, but as far as I knew, it was never published: nobody ever put it into print or media, and it only existed as something I posted on my personal blog.

In fact, I submitted another article (5 Reasons Women Have It Easier Than They Think) which was modified ever so slightly for keyword density. That article was accepted and I received a lowly offer for $2 for exclusive rights. Personally, I thought that the contentious material was worth at least $5, but hey, I’m not going to argue and haggle: business is business. Clearly, I declined the offer.

Anyway, the reason I bring that up is because clearly their copyright infringement department needs to do better work. That article was passed off as original “unpublished” work when in fact it was merely a slight modification of a preexisting work on the same website and same account that submitted another work that was found to be infringing copyrights.

But back to the email response I got. Not only is it presumptuous, despite my efforts to clarify where I was coming from, it was entirely productive and failed to answer the most important question: how do I go about resolving the issue? I figure I can just remove it from my blog, but they sure didn’t give me any clue as to how to proceed.

I think this rude and annoying experience is more than enough to stop me from trying to peddle my writing to Associated Content. I’m not going to subject myself to such nonsense to earn a couple of bucks. Besides, I’ve read too many horror stories about people butchering people’s content and all that. I’ll keep the rights to my work, thank you very much.