I listened to a woman who stated, and I am quoting loosely: "Writers get ripped off all the time. I've had my stuff stolen. I know that staff writers of magazines where I've submitted have taken my ideas. I wrote a novel and was told by an editor that the publishing company that rejected me ripped me off."
My response was a rolling of the eyes. Maybe I'm naive, but I just don't believe magazines and publishers rip people off like this. How would they stay in business? The publishing world is a small world (or at least it feels that way to me) and people who do wrong in the community tend to have their names dragged through the mud. Of course, with most publishing in the hands of five megacorporations, maybe this has changed. I don't think so.
Screenwriters have complained and several filed suit against studios who have ripped the writers off stating: "You can't copyright an idea". Recent court decisions have gone with the writers and studios are becoming shy about cheating people. After all, why steal work as a studio or publisher when there are so many people out there willing to come forward with quality product. The influence of writers' unions also put influence on the studios to reward work done.
Getting published is hard. Bang. That's it. But I don't believe one of the elements making it hard is that there are unscrupulous editors and publishers out there denying writers their just reward.
Again, maybe I'm being naive. Maybe there will now follow an army of comments by writers with horror stories. We'll see. My gut though tells me my initial impression is correct.