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16 October 2014

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Tips on Publishing your Story

A round up of some things to keep in mind when making a digital story with a view to sharing it later.

Tips on Publishing your Story by Lisa Jones

If you're thinking of submitting a completed digital story to a broadcaster, website or maybe film festival for public screening, take a look at the following guidance on good practice for publication.

Three Golden Rules

1. Use your own words - write as you would speak.

2. Use your own photos - stick to the family albums.

3. Use your own music - if you want music in your story, write, perform and record it yourself if you can. But don't worry, there are exceptions listed later.

Avoid using other people's work:

* Commercial music, that is to say music taken from a published CD / DVD / vinyl record or cassette tape.

* Photos taken by anyone other than your, your family or friends.

* Photos or clips of other people's children (under 18 years of age).

* Photos or images of artistic works.

* Scans or images from newspaper or magazine articles, CD or book covers, works of art etc.

* Grabs or clips of any DVD or video other than your own family.

* Grabs or images from websites.

* Posters, calendars, brochures or maps - even if they feature in the background of a photo.

* Company brands and logos such as Nike, Adidas, Coca Cola etc.

* Quotes or lines from poems, songs, books, magzines, pamphlets, websites etc.

* Letters writen by people other than you or your own family because the person who wrote the letter owns the copyright, and not the recipient.

Only if absolutely essential consider using:

* Non-commercial music that has been composed and performed by a member of your family or a friend.

* Traditional music where the composer is anonymous (as long as it's not taken from a commercial CD). For example, you or a member of your family could sing Auld Lang Syne.

* Music composed by someone who has been dead for more than 70 years (as long as it's not taken from a commercial CD). For expample you or a member of your family could play Chopin's The Minute Waltz on the piano.

* Nursery Rhymes as they are mostly anonymous.

* Quotes or lines from books, magazines, poems, letters if the author has been dead for more than 70 years. For example you could use a quote from a Shakespeare sonnet or Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as long as it is spoken by you.

If you are tempted to use any of the above, ask youself why you want to use someone else's work? You can have just as good, if not better, effect by using your own words and materials in a story.

Issues to be aware of:

Do you intend to describe sensitive issues regarding another person or group of people which may involve matters of violence, abuse, sexuality, unhappy family background, marital problems, privacy, fairness, etc which might cause hurt to them or anyone else now or in the future?

Do you think your story might:

* Be libellous, for instance, contain an untruthful statement about someone that injures that person's reputation?

* Affect the safety of other people, especially children and young people?

* Be so one sided in opinion that it may be considered to lack balance in that the other person does not have the right to reply?

If the answer is yes to one or more of these, in the interest of fairness, some organisations may be reluctant to publish your story. Putting into practice the above guidelines should lead to a rewarding experience.

Good luck!

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