“Writers And Creators Should Give Up Their Copywrite Ownership After Thirty, Thirty-Five, Years”
I don’t personally understand Copywrite law, but what I do know is that my work belongs to me.
I am also living on disability, due to the fact that I spent twenty-two years being a victim of sexual assault. Being on disability pays for my medication and my appointments with my hospital-assigned doctor who is helping me to heal so that I can get off disability and live a normal life again.
To clarify, I went on disability when I was eighteen, and it took an additional twenty years for me to get the help I needed so that I could start the process of healing.
I deal with anxiety, depression, and PTSD due to sexual abuse, which is why I don’t have a “normal” job, and why I can’t just go out and get one like the average person.
The nightmares that I have every night keep me from getting a night of normal healthy sleep, and provide for me, a constant state of anxiety, which means that I go into panic mode when I feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or scared.
The only money I earn comes from my writing, and to be quite frank with you, it’s not a lot of money. I have signed up to join the Medium Partner program, in order to add to my state of income, but I can’t finish that process until I can fill out my tax forms, which I cannot do until I can afford to get more than ten years of taxes done. (To date I have earned about $2.50 cents that have gone unclaimed because I need to do my taxes and get permission from the US Gov’t to earn money from Medium.)
I am in debt, up to my ears, mostly to my mom, but it’s a debt that I am dying to pay nonetheless.
I became a writer because it’s the only thing that I do really well, and I decided that I wanted to make money at being a writer because it’s the only thing in the world that makes me happy.
When I am writing I feel like I am in control, I feel like I have some semblance of power over my life, I feel like I am in charge.
Now — again — people are talking about copyright law, and whether or not we as creators should have the right to hold onto our copyright as long as we want. Basically, people want us to give up our creative endeavors, like our books, after thirty, or thirty-five years. To that I say, go fuck yourself.
If you look at my blog stats, you can see that I’ve created enough content in this past year to have written a book. If you look at the last four years of my blog posts, you can see that I’ve written enough content to have many more than one book, but the idea of writing a book is a very daunting task.
I write the blog because it’s helping me heal, I wrote the book because I was afraid my rapists were going to come back and kill me, and I wanted to get my thoughts on the record before they had the chance.
I didn’t write the book just because it was my dream, although it was, I wrote the book because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get the chance. It’s out there now, part of my legacy for as long as I live, and it was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.
Emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, that book took a lot out of me, and it hurt to release it into the world, and now you want to tell me that thirty years from now, I shouldn’t be allowed to get paid from it so that someone else can?
I think the fuck not.
How dare you.
How dare you tell me that the content that I provide for free is unworthy of compensation, simply because you decide that it’s not.
This is a huge scam, you make us pour our heart and soul into our content, paying only the absolute bare minimum, so that you can one day hold our work over our heads and make money off of it, without paying us?
You know what I am saying right? You know who this affects the most right? Black women. That’s right, I said that shit.
Black women already have a hard time being published by the big houses, we already have a hard time getting our names out there, and now you want to literally steal our work, so you can capitalize on it, the way you’ve capitalized on everything else about us for centuries? We see what you’re doing, and we’re not standing for it.
If you want our work, pay for it. Pay us for the hours upon hours that we spend ripping open our emotional selves to provide content for you to keep you educated and entertained.
This is the same conversation we have when we talk about not giving away Black history information for free. This is precisely why we don’t want to talk about what it feels like to be Black or a person of color, it’s exhausting, it takes a toll on our hearts, minds, souls, and our bodies, and y’all really need to get off this hill, because you will die on it.
Artists and creators don’t make nearly as much money as you think we do. Yes some of us have nice houses and our bills are paid, but that’s because the majority of us have that real full-time job that you all bitch about, most of us have partners who help us pay the bills. Most of us work forty-plus hours a week just making time to write, let alone doing the actual writing and creating parts.
As much as I have stayed out of the Jeff Bezos conversation, the man is a billionaire many times over. He has enough money to house every human on earth and still has plenty left over.
I can’t afford to buy my book so I can sell it directly from my website, so I have it listed on Amazon, for each book that I sell, I make about 35%. Yeah, you heard me right.
For context, this (February) month, from my book alone, I made four dollars.
It’s going to take me at least five years, and at least three more books, before I start seeing any actual profit, and because of the way that I write, there isn’t a publication house in the world that is going to give me the big check, unless I build an audience of hundreds of thousands. Even then, I still have to work forty-plus hours a week in order to market my book in the hope that it sells.
So no, you can’t have my Copywrite after ten years, twenty years, or thirty years. You can’t have my copyright ever, I did the work, I deserve to get paid. Pure and simple. When I am gone my entire catalog will be donated to a library, or a women’s center somewhere, so that THEY can capitalize on my book(s), but until then, it’s mine.
If you don’t agree with that, then quit reading my website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all of which I provide content for, for free.
I provide this content for free so that people can get in touch with my work so that I can build a brand for myself so that I can build a body of work that proves that I am as good as I think I am, so that one day, one of those big publishing houses will decide to give me a big fat check and an editor so that I can do the work properly.
I am doing the best that I can, and as a writer, I honestly believe that I deserve more. I deserve to be able to pay my bills, without wondering if I am going to be able to eat or have a roof over my head. I deserve to have the quality of life that any other human on this planet expects, and I deserve to be paid for my work.
You can’t have it, it’s mine, get your grubby money-thieving hands off of it.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall