I have some idea of story, which I want to publish online (idea, not story, because it doesn't exist yet). I want people to discuss it and get some feedback from them.

I asked question on worldbuilding.meta, but here I want to ask if I publish it on some website (for example discussion forum).

How can I protect my idea from stealing?

  • 1
    Oftentimes publishing it on another website also grants everyone else license rights to redistribute and/or modify it freely under that license, even if you own it. You'd have to look into the licensing terms for wherever you're publishing it to see what other users can do with it.
    – animuson
    Apr 21, 2017 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


You cannot. Ideas are not subject to copyright protection: see here. Your expression is subject to copyright protection, but if you intend to publish the expression (after you write it), you have to find a way to do so without surrendering your exclusive right, as you did for example with your question (read the TOS for Stackexchange).

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    Strictly, there is one way to make sure nobody steals your idea: never tell anybody at all. Apr 21, 2017 at 19:39

You cannot protect ideas. Ideas are worth nothing.

If you have ideas for a book, you can write the book and you get copyright protection for the book. Not for the idea, but for the book. If you have ideas for an invention, you can create the invention and apply for a patent. A patent not for the idea, but for the invention.

You can protect the idea by keeping it secret. If you have a business, and that business has an advantage because it knows the idea and others don't, then the business has legal protection because now the idea is a trade secret. It still doesn't cover the case that someone else might have the same idea.

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