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Thread: [eZine] Frontier Tales

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW TypoToffee's Avatar
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    [eZine] Frontier Tales

    Hello all

    Regarding Frontier Tales I have a question.

    http://www.frontiertales.com/submissions.php

    Their website states the following:

    "By submitting a story to us you are giving us the right to print your story, maintain your story in our archive, and print your story in a collection of other stories."

    Is it legit to do this? Without any response, offer to print, offer to pay and so on... does submission mean they can hold your story for perpetuity, preventing you from submitting to other publishers?

    What exactly is the law in this regard?

    Thanks, Toffee
    TypoToffee

    Writer of naughtiness and many things wicked

  2. #2
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    IINAL, but as long as you agree to it, they can do it. Based on that sentence, it looks like you give up the rights to your story upon submission (not acceptance). You could probably still submit the story to another pub after, but I don't see another magazine taking it on because they don't have the exclusive right to publish it.

  3. #3
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Shrink-wrap contracts may not be legally enforceable, but breaking it would probably cost far more than it's worth.

    And what do you get by publishing with these guys, anyway? A "credit" at a 4theluv e-zine. That makes you look more like a no-hoper than an up-and-comer.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW TypoToffee's Avatar
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    ---Bangs head on desktop!--

    Let me be a lesson you you all - READ THE SMALL PRINT before sending.

    Bye bye pretty story, may you R I P.

    Your fairy godwriter hopes you find a nice cowboy to make bubbly gun bubbles with!
    Last edited by TypoToffee; 03-23-2012 at 11:52 PM.
    TypoToffee

    Writer of naughtiness and many things wicked

  5. #5
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    Toffeehead,
    How long ago did you submit? You might be able to send them an e-mail withdrawing the submission. They seem like nice people. Maybe they'll give you your rights back. Can't hurt to try. Good luck! -- Jamie

  6. #6
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Back in the 1980s-1990s a fair number if gaming companies used to include a clause in their submissions guidelines that read essentially "by submitting your material to us you acknowledge our copyright of your work and surrender all and any rights whatsoever to us unconditionally". Not a few of these gaming companies were later essentially accused if "stealing" the author's work by including close, if not exact, works in published products with or without acknowledgement of the original author and/or paying the original author little or nothing for their work.

    Many of these gaming companies, of which a few continue to exist to this day, refuted originator author claims under the "derivative works" clause of copyright law and, as Uncle Jim points out above, made it prohibitively expensive for a contributing fan to pursue any claim(s) against said company. With that said, it can be legitimately claimed that the product of the originating authors was, under the broadest sense, licensed by said gaming companies from various more powerful legal owners of said copyrights (ex Paramount Pictures) and that said works were directly dirivative of the model created by said gaming companies for gaming within the said copyright's universe.

    However, and I haven't checked for a long, long time, the derivative works section of copyright law used to state that a derivative work which was more than 50% original could be copyrighted by an original author drawing material concepts from another author or copyright holder's work. This may, hopefully, have been changed due to the fact that it opened a huge loophole in traditional author's works versus fan fiction. However, in the gaming industry at the time, it appeared to protect someone say, designing a new ship or race for the game X Fleet Battles or Histrion 12 Wars from having their original or more than 50% original derivative material allegedly stolen from them.

    However, because of their submissions clause, you agreed, in principle, that they owned your material by the simple act of submitting that material to them in the first place.

    I don't believe that clause would have ever held up in court, but I don't recall that anyone ever challenged anyone over it.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW TypoToffee's Avatar
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    Well - I'm taking a middle road. I have written to them asking nicely if I can withdraw. I would assume a positive response would absolve me from any agreement.

    If I don't hear at all - I will assume I am bound.
    TypoToffee

    Writer of naughtiness and many things wicked

  8. #8
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Toffeehead, don't ask, tell them you are withdrawing the work.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW TypoToffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOTSGreg View Post
    Toffeehead, don't ask, tell them you are withdrawing the work.
    Bangs head on desk for the second time that day...
    TypoToffee

    Writer of naughtiness and many things wicked

  10. #10
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Demanding right off the bat may not get you anywhere. Flies, honey, vinegar ... you know the drill.

    Note that there's nothing wrong with little 4theluv e-zines. It all depends on your goals.

    My comments are for folks who want to be professional writers. Others have different wants, different goals, and different paths.

    I publish stuff for free on the web all the darned time. I just don't add it to my CV.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 03-24-2012 at 01:25 AM.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Toffeehead,

    Frontier Tales is my zine. Here's why I worded the submissions policy that way. My intent was (and is) only to prevent someone sending something in and then being unhappy because I published it. I'm sure that sounds foolish to lots of people. Why else would you send something in if you didn't want it published? Be that as it may, it's just a way for me to cover myself.

    Now, how does it work in reality? If you get published first elsewhere, and that precludes Frontier Tales from having the right to publish also, please let me know -- I won't publish the work. If you decide to withdraw the work, let me know. I won't publish the work. I have withdrawn every other story from the zine prior to publication when I was asked to, so I can't see why I wouldn't do the same for you.

    Frontier Tales is, as I've seen it referred to here, a "4theluv" zine. I know you aren't making any money from it, but neither am I. Not a dime.

    I am starting a small press called Pen-L Publishing which I hope will make a profit. I'm drawing on stories from Frontier Tales, specifically those which were voted Best of the Month. The authors of those stories selected for the Best of Frontier Tales Anthology will be getting royalties for their work. If I make money, they make money. I think that's fair. Don't you?

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW TypoToffee's Avatar
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    Hello Editor

    Thank you for replying and making your position clear. As a new writer I am wary of the loss of my work. Your wording left me concerned that the mere submission of a piece rendered it yours with no rights to withdraw. I am sure you can appreciate this raised a flag - which have you have kindly addressed.

    I accept that your intent might be otherwise, but that was not clear to me in your submission guidelines, quoted above. Perhaps I misunderstood. I am grateful you take a flexible view on this.

    I appreciate your prompt response. Good luck with Pen-L Publishing. Making money would be a nice thing for us all.
    Last edited by TypoToffee; 03-27-2012 at 01:39 AM. Reason: Proofing
    TypoToffee

    Writer of naughtiness and many things wicked

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    This isn't the first time I've seen a submission-equals-grant-of-rights submission policy in small non-paying ezines.

    I was recently asked about another such (not Frontier Tales nor related to them in any way), so I asked one of my friends at a major publisher about that. Here's the answer I received:
    I'm not impressed by [Publisher]'s claim that he's studied business law. This fails the "meeting of minds" test. [Author] did not understand himself to be entering into a contract, much less a non-negotiable one, when he submitted his work.

    Was it reasonable of [Author] to see it that way? In my opinion, yes. The usual practice in publishing is that a submission asks whether the recipient would like to publish the writer's work. If the recipient says yes, they dicker about the terms. If they can come to an agreement, they draw up a contract which reflects that agreement. If they can't, they don't go to contract. It's not at all usual to claim that submitting work amounts to an automatic consent to the terms of a non-negotiable contract.

    The rule that [Publisher] asserts is untenable. Suppose a writer, hereafter Ferdy, heard about [Market] in an extracted list of publications that are current accepting submissions of the sort he writes. It's not an unimaginable scenario; that kind of information often circulates among writers. If Ferdy had seen [Market] on that list and sent his work to the [Market] address, would he and [Publisher] have a contract? [Publisher] is saying they would, because his guidelines say that any submission amounts to an automatic consent to his terms. That would unquestionably be wrong. He and Ferdy would not have a meeting of minds, or an agreement, or a contract.

    Want an even simpler statement of it? Mutual understanding and mutual consent are not things that one party can impose on another. If they aren't mutual, they don't exist, and neither does the contract.
    Keep in mind that neither I nor my correspondent is a lawyer, nor is this legal advice for anyone's particular situation.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW engmajor2005's Avatar
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    Frontier Tales

    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but is anyone familiar with this publication, namely if they pay?

    http://www.frontiertales.com/index.php
    Reading The Issues

    Being a genre fiction writer's cool, because people either love you or hate you...or think you're okay.

    They used unnecessary quotation marks, and thus are dead to me.

  15. #15
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    I'm thinking they don't pay, if only because they allow you to withdraw at any point in the publication process (before publication) and also don't care whether something has been published elsewhere, or even if you are publishing something at FT and somewhere else simultaneously.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW engmajor2005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thedrellum View Post
    I'm thinking they don't pay, if only because they allow you to withdraw at any point in the publication process (before publication) and also don't care whether something has been published elsewhere, or even if you are publishing something at FT and somewhere else simultaneously.
    That's what I figured. Thanks!

    And thank to the mod for moving my post here. Gave me even more information.
    Reading The Issues

    Being a genre fiction writer's cool, because people either love you or hate you...or think you're okay.

    They used unnecessary quotation marks, and thus are dead to me.

  17. #17
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like anything's changed with this market. They still have the rights grab. It doesn't stop being one because they say it isn't one. You don't want to submit to a place that takes right just from submitting, whether they let you withdraw later or not. It would still allow them to publish without letting you know.

    How markets usually work is you submit to them. No rights handed over. Then they decide to accept or reject. If they accept, they send you a contract. If you agree to the terms (or you agree to them after some negotiation) you sign the contract. Only then does the market get the right to publish it. It's not author-friendly to skip this process.

    And note here the publisher saw the concerns and dismissed them. They're not looking to make the site author-friendly or to learn about the industry. They've had years to do so, and haven't. Someone saying they want to help authors doesn't make it true.

    If you really want to give your story away for free, put it on your website.
    * Polenth *

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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW engmajor2005's Avatar
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    You know, I completely overlooked the rights grab at first. Reading over this thread is what brought my attention to it, and I thank you for going into even more detail.

    I remember a few years ago, Marvel Comics was looking for new writers and artists. I was actually going to go for it, but I saw in their fine print that they would have ownership of all materials sent them as sample--not just the actual content itself mind you, but ideas and concepts as well. And here we are today, with me not working for Marvel Comics, but also still in possession of my own creations. I get that there such a thing as "work for hire," but unless that's what I'm agreeing to (and being fairly compensated for it), I'd just rather not.

    It didn't sit well with me that Frontier Tales didn't address payment either way on their website to begin with, and I can say with confidence that I won't be submitting anything to them now.
    Reading The Issues

    Being a genre fiction writer's cool, because people either love you or hate you...or think you're okay.

    They used unnecessary quotation marks, and thus are dead to me.

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