May 19, 2010
Avoid Publishers With Greedy Rights Clauses
I have about a contract I'm contemplating signing. The publication is in print and online, and I'll be doing blog posts initially, with the potential to do features in the future. I really want to write for this pub, but when they sent me the contract, the paragraph below scared me:
"(The Publisher) will retain the copyrights to all stories, works or photographs published. (The Publisher) may at its discretion resell or republish any stories, works or photographs. (Contributor) will agree that all stories, and works of authorship, including photos, will be considered works made for hire and shall be owned exclusively by (The Publisher). "
My question is this: Is it standard to deprive the writer of all copyright rights from the get-go? I'm inclined to ask for a one-year reversion clause.
If the pay is modest, this is a rights grab and you should have them remove this clause (though that may result in you losing the gig). If you sign this, you lose all rights and they can go on to resell the piece over and over and over again, or earn advertising money on it without giving you another penny.
I, personally, would only sign an all-rights contract if the pay was excellent.
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