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Alpo

Probably nobody knows, but what the hell

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Let's say that I write an article, and sell it to Beach Weekly, which is a local magazine that nobody outside of our county has ever heard of.

 

Do I own the copyright of the article, or does Beach Weekly?

 

It was such a damn fine article that Beach Weekly sold it to Time magazine for a couple of hundred grand.

 

Can they do that without my permission? If they can, do they have to pay me some of the money Time paid them?

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Uh, did you even bother with a copyright before you sold it??

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I don't know the answer, but I'm curious why you think no one would know.  We have at least 2 regulars here who are bona-fide writers with articles published in magazines.  I think we got a couple who write books too. 

 

If I could remember their usernames I'd summon them to the thread for you. 

 

I wanna say Mike Bellvue is one but that is his real name.  @Cholla is the other. 

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2 hours ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

I don't know the answer, but I'm curious why you think no one would know.  We have at least 2 regulars here who are bona-fide writers with articles published in magazines.  I think we got a couple who write books too. 

 

If I could remember their usernames I'd summon them to the thread for you. 

 

I wanna say Mike Bellvue is one but that is his real name.  @Cholla is the other. 

My books are copyrighted to me and I can give permission to use some (or all) of the info without surrendering the copyrights.   If I give that right to some entity they cannot, without my permission, allow any one else the rights to any of it.

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I suspect you need to contact an attorney who specializes in copyright and patent law.  A number of years ago, when I wrote an article for Man-At-Arms magazine, and wanted to be able to use the material for a book, I was told that they only owned the rights to the material for the publication of the article, and could NOT sell the same article to another periodical.  But the information and copyright otherwise belonged to me!  No doubt an attorney will cost money, but if the value of the article sold to another magazine was that much, it would probably be worth it to at least find out what your rights are.

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3 hours ago, Cheyenne Ranger, 48747L said:

I can write my name if given enough time :)

Take all the time you need, and write your name at the bottom of one of your checks.  Then send it to me.  Don't bother filling out the rest of the check. :P

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In the given perameters (I sold it to Beach Weekly), the purchaser owns the rights.

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Posted (edited)

Your writing is copyright protected from the moment you write it. You do not need to send it to the copyright office to register it.

 

The rights that a magazine buys can vary. Normally it is first-time American rights. What this means is that you're promising that the piece has never been published before and you will not sell it to anyone else until the publication has published it. Once the magazine has published it, the rights revert back to you, the writer.

 

In some cases, a publication will buy previously published material, but you need to let them know that it has been previously published when submitting it. Generally speaking, magazines don't pay as well for previously published material as they do for new. But, there is no labor involved in re-writing it so I just look at it as a bonus.

 

One publication that I deal with doesn't pay well to begin with but they are often used in school curriculum material, so I get another check at that point, and since I have been doing for a while, they sometime reuse an article over ten years later and I get another check.

 

I thought I would add this: Writing doesn't pay well, especially these days when there are thousands of bloggers willing to give their material away for notoriety. Payments for a 1,500-word article can range from $50 to $450 depending on the reach of the publication.

Edited by Cholla
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Cholla, thank you.

 

If I read and understood you correctly, my ponderment could not happen

 

Once Beach Weekly printed my article, ownership reverted to me, so they could not, legally, sell it to Time.

 

And if they did I could probably sue (and win) both Beach Weekly for all they were paid, and Time (who has much deeper pockets) for not doing due diligence. :lol:

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3 minutes ago, Alpo said:

Cholla, thank you.

 

If I read and understood you correctly, my ponderment could not happen

 

Once Beach Weekly printed my article, ownership reverted to me, so they could not, legally, sell it to Time.

 

And if they did I could probably sue (and win) both Beach Weekly for all they were paid, and Time (who has much deeper pockets) for not doing due diligence. :lol:

It’s all in the fine print that you didn’t read before you signed the check.

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2 hours ago, Cholla said:

Your writing is copyright protected from the moment you write it. You do not need to send it to the copyright office to register it.

 

The rights that a magazine buys can vary. Normally it is first-time American rights. What this means is that you're promising that the piece has never been published before and you will not sell it to anyone else until the publication has published it. Once the magazine has published it, the rights revert back to you, the writer.

 

In some cases, a publication will buy previously published material, but you need to let them know that it has been previously published when submitting it. Generally speaking, magazines don't pay as well for previously published material as they do for new. But, there is no labor involved in re-writing it so I just look at it as a bonus.

 

One publication that I deal with doesn't pay well to begin with but they are often used in school curriculum material, so I get another check at that point, and since I have been doing for a while, they sometime reuse an article over ten years later and I get another check.

 

I thought I would add this: Writing doesn't pay well, especially these days when there are thousands of bloggers willing to give their material away for notoriety. Payments for a 1,500-word article can range from $50 to $450 depending on the reach of the publication.

Eggzakly!

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As stated above, you do not have to register copyright to have protection.

If you have registered, then, if ever you need to file for infringement, all opposing parties will be aware that the maximum penalties would apply, and the judge will be very likely the rule for the maximum amount.

See it happen regularly to photographer friends of mine. The difference in penalties can be startling.

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4 hours ago, Cholla said:

Your writing is copyright protected from the moment you write it. You do not need to send it to the copyright office to register it.

 

The rights that a magazine buys can vary. Normally it is first-time American rights. What this means is that you're promising that the piece has never been published before and you will not sell it to anyone else until the publication has published it. Once the magazine has published it, the rights revert back to you, the writer.

 

In some cases, a publication will buy previously published material, but you need to let them know that it has been previously published when submitting it. Generally speaking, magazines don't pay as well for previously published material as they do for new. But, there is no labor involved in re-writing it so I just look at it as a bonus.

 

One publication that I deal with doesn't pay well to begin with but they are often used in school curriculum material, so I get another check at that point, and since I have been doing for a while, they sometime reuse an article over ten years later and I get another check.

 

I thought I would add this: Writing doesn't pay well, especially these days when there are thousands of bloggers willing to give their material away for notoriety. Payments for a 1,500-word article can range from $50 to $450 depending on the reach of the publication.

That's true, but the feel of a printed book that you authored can't be duplicated by looking at some blog.  Sometimes I take one of books down and just hold it in my hands and enjoy it.

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I have a friend, Mike Dunbar, a woodworker, maker and teacher of Windsor chairs. He wrote seven books.  One time he said “books don’t pay”. Of course he was not talking sales like Harry Potter.  So when he retired and sold the tools and shop, he turned to writing children’s books.

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5 hours ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

That's true, but the feel of a printed book that you authored can't be duplicated by looking at some blog.  Sometimes I take one of books down and just hold it in my hands and enjoy it.

I'm with you. I admit I get a little thrill to see my work in print. Writing is a true legacy.

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5 hours ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

I have a friend, Mike Dunbar, a woodworker, maker and teacher of Windsor chairs. He wrote seven books.  One time he said “books don’t pay”. Of course he was not talking sales like Harry Potter.  So when he retired and sold the tools and shop, he turned to writing children’s books.

I guess it depends on the book. My log furniture book should net me $12,000 on the first printing. They are already talking about a second printing. The problem is I have no idea about the rate of sales now.

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How to prove your copyright, in case there is ever a question...

 

put your final version into a 9x12 Manila envelope, appropriately sealed and send it to yourself, registered mail. When you receive it, put it unopened into your safe.

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18 hours ago, Alpo said:

Cholla, thank you.

 

If I read and understood you correctly, my ponderment could not happen

 

Once Beach Weekly printed my article, ownership reverted to me, so they could not, legally, sell it to Time.

 

And if they did I could probably sue (and win) both Beach Weekly for all they were paid, and Time (who has much deeper pockets) for not doing due diligence. :lol:

Like MMH stated, it all depends on what you signed, if anything. I have rarely had to sign an agreement or contract. In every publication that I can remember being in it has been First American Rights. The problem that has come up over the years is that many publications, along with placing it on the printed page, slapped the work up on their new-fangled website. This led to many running into legal issues because they didn't buy electronic rights. (I'm sure many have changed their policies by now.) I have had some friends make the publication take it down or pay more for the additional rights. I don't care because the stuff I wrote usually was something I couldn't sell anywhere else and it makes my web presence larger.

 

A larger issue is blogs or websites using a piece that was ripped from another website and feel that giving you a byline is all the compensation needed. Many seem to think that if something is on the Internet, that makes it in the public domain and free to use. This is not the case.

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Twenty years ago I used to write screenplays (none got produced). Production houses required that the piece be registered with the copyright office before submitting them. They wanted a copy of the registration before they would even read it.

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16 hours ago, Cholla said:

I'm with you. I admit I get a little thrill to see my work in print. Writing is a true legacy.

On my wall are several framed quotes, but one of my all time favorites is:

 

The West is dead my friend,

 but the writers hold the seed.

and what they sow will live and grow

again for those who read! 

                   Charles M. Russell

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7 hours ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

How to prove your copyright, in case there is ever a question...

 

put your final version into a 9x12 Manila envelope, appropriately sealed and send it to yourself, registered mail. When you receive it, put it unopened into your safe.

 

Years ago I knew a person that took the original to the post office and had the postmaster stamp it on a few pages with that day's postmark. Made sure that the postmark overlapped the writing at the top of the first page and at the end of the last page. Then they would have copies made and the original was put away for safe keeping.

 

Unfortunately that is no longer possible. :(

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Howdy,

I would write Time and ask where your money is.

They might decide it would be cheaper to pay you than mess with lawyers and court.

Over the years I have found going directly to the top works very well.

Best

CR

 

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