So I wrote this article on my own, and shared it between my friends via online, but I did not want anyone to use it for any monetary reasons, such as publishing it into a book and selling it. Is there a disclaimer I can use to tell people to not publish the article, and keep it private from publicity?

3 Answers 3


That's what a copyright notice is for. It informs the public that the work is copyrighted, when it was copyrighted, and who owns the copyright.

This is the standard form of a copyright notice:

© 2017 James Homicker

If your friends know the meaning of the copyright notice, that's all you need. If not, add a line at the top of your article, asking them not to copy, distribute, or publish the article for any reason.

ETA: I noticed that you said "for any monetary reasons." If you wish to allow non-commercial use of your article, consider issuing a "creative commons" license. The For Licensors section of the CreativeCommons.org FAQ offers guidance on how to choose and apply an appropriate license.


I am not a lawyer, but I do know you own the copyright on the material from the moment you finished it. Other's cannot publish it for money without your permission. Unfortunately, you need to get a lawyer to write a cease-and-desist letter for anybody that does, or perhaps you can find a model for one online, but the copyright is yours. Which means nobody else has the right to publish copies of it for any reason unless you grant them that.

  • "I do know you own the copyright on the material from the moment you finished it" I believe this isn't universally true. In some countries, you actually have to register or at least submit your work for copyright to apply.
    – user
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 23:27
  • @MichaelKjörling Maybe true. In the USA, you have the copyright on any finished form; which would be what the OP shared.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 4:10

IANAL but you should have a lawyer draft a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that they all must sign in order to read. This then protects you from having them leak your article. Details in the NDA can provide any retribution should they break the NDA. However they all need to sign an NDA. That legally holds them responsible to your wishes of keeping it private and holds them legally accountable for any actions that violate the agreement signed.

  • Really? A NDA? To make sure friends don't publish and make money off of something you've written? What happened to a simple request such as, say, "don't pass this on to anyone else" written right at the top? While I agree that in some cases that a legally workable NDA is necessary, in the OP's case this seems exceptionally heavy-handed. A NDA also typically (but this obviously depends on the specific implementation) encompasses activities far from "publishing in whole for monetary gain", not uncommonly including even discussing the content.
    – user
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 23:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.