JZ Blogger

Legal Issues
fredag, januari 18, 2008, 8:10
Filed under: General Blogging

Legal stuff and the policies of media have been issues I’ve focused a lot on lately when it comes to writing. A simplified version of the copyright laws is fairly straight-forward: what you write belongs to you, unless you state otherwise (either in words or by action). In fact, in most cases you don’t even have to include a copyright notice to claim the rights to your own work anymore (such a notice used to be required).

Other stuff of concern include what rights I have to my work after it’s been published on, say, a website (or in a magazine), and what rights I have to re-sell my work. Obviously this depends on the websites own policy, but a few variations include:

  • a) Full rights – the website now owns your work and may publish it whenever and wherever they want,
  • b) Time-based rights – the material can’t be republished or -sold for a certain amount of time, usually a few months, and the website may re-publish your work during this period, and
  • c) One-time publication – the website publishes your work once, but they can’t re-publish it and you still own the rights to your work.

I’m fairly sure the same goes for magazines and other media.

Although I haven’t had any problems with it (usually you have something published, and that’s it – you probably won’t want to resell it anyway), but say I publish an article which I a year later find a suitable place to re-publish it on. Can I do that? Or if a short story is published in a magazine, when, if ever, can I allow another magazine to publish it?

Again, it varies a lot. Basically things musn’t conflict with the agreement with the original buyer, nor with the policy of the new buyer (who must be informed of the fact that the work has already been published once).

But the main question, in this case, is: if I publish something on this blog, will it cause problems regarding selling the work to a magazine or website? I hope not (and they probably wouldn’t notice it anyway), but I’ve decided not to take the chance…


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