Many times, Intellectual Property cases are around the subject of what is actually sold when a writer submits to a publication. By the time you submit it, you should know what you rights you are giving away. Here are the basic ones that you can put into a contract:
The All World Rights. These are rights that are also sometimes called the Full Rights. When you write something for a publication or website and sell them these particular rights, it means that the person or company that you are selling them to has the right to do whatever it is that they want with your material. It is no longer yours, and they can even put their name in the byline of it if they wish to. Also, you don’t have the right anymore to sell that particular manuscript to anyone, anywhere. If you enter into a contract like this, my advice is to ask for a letter of recommendation and be sure and save the receipts to prove to future employers that you didn’t work for free!
All World Serial Rights. These rights are ones that are sold to a publication or website that allow them to publish your work anywhere to anyone, anytime they feel like it. The good news about these rights is that you would retain all of the other rights to your manuscript. For example, let’s say that you pitched an article to a magazine, then they accepted and published the piece under these rights. They can put it in any of their associated publications (sister magazines, associated magazines, etc.) and you yourself still would have the right to, say, publish that same exact material in a book that you decided to write.
First Rights. The old school way of saying these rights was First North American Rights. What they mean is that when you sell a manuscript under them the person that you sold it to can only use your material once (for the first time) in any of their associated media. You retain all other rights, which is why these are the most popular rights among writers and publishers.
Electronic Rights. This is kind of a catch-all phrase that can be used in any contract selling any of the rights that are explained above or below, to include the fact that if the magazine you sell your stuff to has a website (or any type of electronic media) outside of a paper print publication, they have the right to put the material there as well. That’s all.
First North American Serial Rights. The publication has the right to publish the work in a US or Canadian periodical. You retain the book and North American Reprint rights, as well as the rights to sell to any foreign market of your choice!
Second Rights. These are also referred to as Reprint Rights, and they simply state that the publication has the right to reprint your material a second time. You still have all other rights to do what you wish with the material, though.
One Time Rights. Sort of like First Rights, but this includes the people that you have sold to after the initial publication of the material. They get to publish the work only once under these rights, and you should let them know that you will be selling the material elsewhere while they are using it on their website, in their publication, etc.
There are plenty of things that the vast majority of writers don’t know about when it comes down to the Copyrights and Permissions for their written material. But, if you ever have a problem with a publisher about the terms of one of the contracts for your manuscripts, the lawyers at Makarem and Associates are a big help in any Intellectual Property cases that you may have. They can be easily contacted at 310.312.0299 or by email at [email protected].