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Thread: Question re magazine and copyright

  1. #1

    Question re magazine and copyright

    Greetings All,

    Please for give the naive questions.

    I am brand new to the world of magazine and book contracts, and am considering submitting an article for publication to a magazine that says it takes
    " North American serial rights on all work accepted."
    I believe this means that they then have the rights to all of the material accepted as far as magazine publication is concerned, but that I can publish the material, or a form of it, in a book later. Is this correct?

    I have been researching a topic for about twenty years, and have finally decided that I'll never find the book I'm looking for on the shelf, so I'd better write it
    While I finish putting it together, I thought I would put a small part of the material into a magazine article, so I could then start to build credits to show to an agent or publisher, to prove the quality of my work. The article and the book will be non-fiction , niche but growing market, and I am completely hooked into the market, and have been for almost thirty years, so I feel that I have a very good idea what it is looking for, and how to market it effectively. What do you think of this strategy?

    Thanks for any advice,

  2. #2
    James D Macdonald

    Re: Question re magazine and copyright

    Good strategy.

    Try negotiating that contract to first North American serial rights (this will allow you to sell a reprint elsewhere).

    Incidentally, the rights they're talking about aren't the same thing as "copyright." The copyright is, and should remain, yours.

  3. #3

    Re: Question re magazine and copyright

    Here's a useful discussion of rights, from Moira Allen at

    - Victoria

  4. #4

    First rights

    I think they mean First North American Rights. That means they have the right to print it for the FIRST TIME in any publication in North America. You can reprint it anywhere else afterward (anywhere that accepts reprints, that is).

  5. #5

    Re: First rights

    Chacounne, I suspect Skylar is right. If they are indeed asking for first North American serial rights, then you're free to sell that same piece to any magazine, e-zine, newspaper, book, etc. after the other publisher has published it. You're also free to sell it simultaneously outside of N. America. The copyright is still yours; you're just giving them the right to be the first serial publication in N. America to print it.

  6. #6

    Re: First rights

    P.S. I'm copying this topic to the Freelance Writing board, too.

  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    New Hampshire
    First North American Serial Rights and copyright.


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