Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Publishing Rights

Know Your Rights

A lot of fitness pros email me about the article rights that magazines and websites ask for (i.e., all rights, reprint rights, etc.).

Understanding what rights you sell to magazines and newspapers means:
  • you can make more money re-selling articles
  • you avoid a breach of contract, which could burn bridges with publishers or get you into legal trouble.

Here’s a quick breakdown of common article rights you can expect to see. (Disclaimer: I’m not a contracts lawyer, so please consider this a general guide – when in doubt, ask your editor for clarification).

All Rights

The publisher is buying the right to use your article in any way it sees fit without further compensation to you. In this scenario, you are NOT free to sell the article elsewhere.

Most professional writers will advise you to avoid this one whenever possible, especially if the magazine pays peanuts.

Web Rights

The right to post your article on one or more specified websites, preferably for a particular timeframe.

First Serial Rights

The magazine or newspaper buys the right to publish your article first (meaning the piece hasn’t yet appeared elsewhere).

Sometimes serial rights are specific to a region, such as First North American Serial Rights (FNASR). If you grant FNASR, you’re still free to sell the article at any time in, say, the United Kingdom (as long as the UK publisher doesn’t buy all rights).

Reprint Rights

You grant a website or publication the right to reprint your article one or more times, depending on the agreement and provided you haven’t previously signed that right away.

The term “reprint rights” does not mean the right to put your byline on an article written by someone else (as some internet marketers advertise). This practice that could get you into serious trouble with online article directories and magazines/newspapers.

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