View Full Version : ZATZ Publishing / ZENPRESS

12-10-2004, 04:00 AM
Yeah, this one blew my mind. I've seen plenty of lousy deals for writers in my day, but I think I may award this one World's Worst Publisher.

Their terms:

www.authorpower.com/stori...yReader$36 (http://www.authorpower.com/stories/storyReader$36)

Below is an e-mail I wrote to their editor yesterday:

I wish you were kidding. I read this and my jaw dropped:

"If we accept an article, we will become the copyright holder. This is essential, especially on the Web, to allow us to actively protect our publications from copyright infringement. There are a few, very rare cases where we do not claim the copyright, but they are usually a result of a content-sharing relationship with another magazine. If you submit an article to ZATZ and we choose to publish it, you are thereby releasing any and all copyright to us. This, by the way, is the usual practice among most major magazines."

Oh, really? It's the usual practice among most major magazines to demand work-for-hire rights... and not pay for them?

Which magazines have you written for? I'm a full-time writer with hundreds of credits, and the only magazine that required work-for-hire rights from me paid me $4,000 for those rights.

And whether or not you own the copyrights to individual articles has no bearing on others infringing writers' copyrights.

But wait, your shtick gets better:

"Honorariums are rare (the tax paperwork is a royal pain)"

OH, COME ON! You're blaming it on the paperwork?! Shame, shame, shame.

And this:

"While we're on the topic of dos and don'ts, it's very important that all articles submitted must be original, unpublished works that will not be and have not been published elsewhere. We (and nearly all other publishers) frown severly on simultaneous submissions. This means it is also not okay to reproduce the article on your own Web site, although a link to the published article is certainly permitted, and even encouraged. You may print a limited number of copies of the article to show to prospective employers and clients (and, of course, your mom), but you can't run a published article in more than one publication. It's just not done and it's really, really bad."

Good job teaching all those stupid, naive writers what publication is all about.

I'm horrified.

It's "just not done?" One of my articles has been reprinted 19 times, and I got paid for each use. Simultaneous submissions are standard practice among experienced writers and real editors understand why the practice is necessary. Those who disallow it have EARNED that right by virtue of the fact that they PAY writers! You won't even allow your slaves to post their articles on their own websites? You have amazing nerve.

I have nothing against publishers who can't afford to pay writers. What I abhor are publishers who take advantage of writers, mislead them, and make ridiculous demands of people who are *volunteers.*


Yes, editor David Gewirtz responded, just as condescendingly as I figured he would, happily citing all his "happy authors" (hmm... sound familiar?), telling me how he must be doing "something right," and answering none of my concerns...

Then I found this and I realized there was no hope for this person:

mediakit.zatz.com/reprints (http://mediakit.zatz.com/reprints)

YES, you're reading right: Zatz is actually selling reprints of the articles it got for free. $200, or $400 for a "rush." And the writers get nothing, because they signed over copyright when they DONATED their articles to this publisher.

Absolutely mind-blowing.

Magazines include:

Domino Power
Outlook Power
Computing Unplugged
Connected Photographer

David's e-mail: editor@ZATZ.com

12-10-2004, 04:28 AM
"If we accept an article, we will become the copyright holder. This is essential, especially on the Web, to allow us to actively protect our publications from copyright infringement. There are a few, very rare cases where we do not claim the copyright"

I'd be interested in seeing a sample contract from them...mainly because you can't hand over copyright by signing an acceptance of publication form.

The law is clear that a seperate and specific instrument be created for the assignation of copyright...just like you can't hand over ownership of your car because you're giving them permission to drive it.

So, if there isn't a seperate agreement, people who have signed just what amounts to a permission slip will still retain their copyrights, regardless of the language in the body of the contract.

This is really, really stupid.:b

12-10-2004, 04:44 AM
Must expose this guy as a fraud, a scam, a con, and possibly a criminal.

12-10-2004, 06:25 AM
I'd say something sensible in response were I not still picking my jaw up off the floor. And they have 'happy authors'? The mind boggles!


aka eraser
12-10-2004, 06:27 AM
We gotta set up a Wall Of Shame to enshrine Meiners, S. T., this dude and a few select others.

12-10-2004, 06:50 AM
He's a creep. I'm being polite here. What I want to say I will not repeat on a public board.

And the "happy authors" must be on some sort of really good drugs to be happy under this agreement.

But I am sure there are people out there who are so desperate for any sort of publication that they will eat their pride and do this in the hope they will be noticed.

This kind of thinking is dangerous and harms anyone who wants to be PAID for work they do.

Writing is not a charity; it is not a free service. It can be difficult, solitary, time-consuming work in order to do it with any level of competence. Why does it continue to be treated as something anyone can do at the drop of a hat?

Sorry for the rant - I have a bad headache, and this thread sticks in my craw.

This guy needs to be shut down.

12-10-2004, 07:10 AM
Sure, they have happy authors - and they say one of the benefits of writing for them is that you get your very own author profile on their website. I could actually find a section of author profiles to read about these happy authors but, you know, that doesn't mean they don't exist :rolleyes

What a joke.

Wailing Bainsidhe
12-10-2004, 02:28 PM
Jenna, I am a webmaster for a law firm, and our attorneys often write articles for various publications, legally oriented and not, and my understanding is that they are not paid for the articles and often sign away all rights. One of them forwarded his contract because he didn't understand whether it allowed him to republish the article on our Web site. (I often find myself in the interesting position of explaining copyright law to attorneys!) The publisher did indeed take all rights and offer no payment. Of course, they get the "payment" of having a publication credit on their resume, which is important if they are associates on the partnership track and when partners with no book have to justify their status as partner. They are not in the same situation as a freelance writer trying to earn a living from the article. My point is that ZATZ is not alone.


12-10-2004, 04:08 PM
The underlying issue, though, is that they take the copyright without PAYING the author, then turn around and sell them for profits for themselves, without giving credit (since they now own the copyright). The author won't even get a byline, I think. All they get is an author's page? It's like working at McDonald's for free.

Kate St Amour
12-10-2004, 07:53 PM
I have been freelancing for less than a year; doing what I can to build up my resume. While I do write gratis for a local (DC) non-profit magazine with a massive distribution, one thing I have not done is signed away my rights without appropriate payment! I hesitate to even submit to anyplace that wants exclusive rights and doesn't pay over $150 (which when you think about losing your rights, isn't even enough). Shame on Zatz!

12-10-2004, 08:14 PM
Like I said, I'd be interested in seeing a sample contract from this place.

Years ago a writer (or artist) could sign away all their rights to a piece by putting their signature on a simple acceptance form ("by signing this document you acknowledge Sleazebag Inc. holds forever and a day all rights to the WORK") or by endorsing a check.

But now, Sleazebag Inc. must provide a seperate document that specifically spells out what rights the contributer is signing away, particularly if there's no due consideration, i.e., giving the rights away gratis.

It's possible Spazz or Zatz does this...or it's possible they just give the impression of that to the neophytes when they sign their agreement.

If the latter, I have serious doubts regarding the legality of such a contract.

12-10-2004, 09:30 PM
Yeah, I thought as much.

Just to make sure my memory of such procedures was still intact from my tenure as an editor at a publishing company which always used freelance talent, I checked on the net.

Here's the definition I found:

<1 Copyright Transfer Forms. To convey publication rights to copyrighted materials, a copyright holder will enter into a contract, license, or some other type of publishing agreement. Most publishers supply a transfer form on which authors can enter their transfer permission.

Most transfer forms also list those rights retained by the author. These normally include proprietary rights other than copyright, such as patent rights; the right to use the article in future works, such as reprint volumes and abstract journals; and the right to approve or disapprove requests by other authors to use figures, tables, excerpts, or the whole piece. >

Even a limited transfer of copyright requires a seperate agreement/form.

So if Zatz isn't supplying either specific form for the contributers to sign, then it doesn't matter what language is used in the permission to publish agreement.

Their claim to copyright wouldn't be binding.

12-10-2004, 11:38 PM
Eraser, I am indeed thinking of setting up a Wall of Shame. My idea is to send out "tickets" first... citations for bad treatment of writers. Tickets would have a comment to let them know if the problem hasn't been corrected in 1 week, they'll be listed on our Wall of Shame.

All, feel free to write to this guy. He quit sniping at me when I informed him that I would own the copyright to everything else he wrote to me. ;)

ZATZ Publishing Response
12-13-2004, 09:57 AM
Copyright to the following hereby granted to Jenna Glatzer, the operator of this discussion board.


I'm David Gewirtz and if you read this discussion thread, I'm possibly the most abusive publisher in the world.

Maestrowork thinks I'm a fraud, a scam, a con, and possibly a criminal. I've never met Maestrowork, but I suspect he or she is welcome to her or his opinion. By the way, Maestrowork, all our authors get bylines. Also, fraud generally implies an intent to mislead, and as you've all noticed, our policies are very visible and far from misleading.

Allion, again without ever meeting me or conversing with me, thinks I'm a creep. I appreciate his or her desire to shut me down. After all, why should someone you've never met be allowed to make a living? I do hope your headache's better. A couple of Advil and a cup of coffee usually works for me.

AprilBoo, you wanted to know about our authors. Please feel free to visit zatzhq.zatz.com/authors (http://zatzhq.zatz.com/authors) where you'll find all our published authors listed.

Jaxler, who's listed as "a new friend," I should probably tell you the company name is spelled Z-A-T-Z. Spazz and Sleazebag, Inc. are likely trademarks of other firms. But, had we thought of those names back in the mid-90s, I'm sure we would have considered them as well!

And to the nice person who sent me an email this morning with random and abusive threats, I want to thank you. Nothing starts a Sunday morning off more nicely in this season of joy than abuse from strangers.

Now that I've lead into this posting with sarcasm, let me speak from the heart. These postings sadden me greatly. They sadden me for a few reasons. First, how quickly we turn to hatred and accusation, without ever taking the time to find out the truth or get to meet the people we're hating. And second, it saddens me because I've dedicated my career to helping and supporting writers and to find myself unfairly attacked by such authors really hurts. And, geez, my parents might even find and read these. That's just wonderful.

If you were to read the postings above, you'd think it shouldn't matter that the feelings of a publisher are hurt. But I'm actually a real, live, breathing person with an uncomfortable chocolate addiction. Let me tell you a bit about myself and my company. My friend Denise and I formed it a bunch of years ago. We work very hard to bring great articles to readers all over the world, for free. We also work very hard to support our authors and have excellent relationships with most of them.

It is true we don't pay them. Frankly, we don't get paid for much of what we produce either. We're not a huge, venture funded company rolling in the green. We're a small, family business that works hard each month to cover the fees on our servers, bandwidth and, hopefully, make rent.

Jenna claims she made $4,000 for one article and has articles reprinted over and over. I got paid less than that once for an entire book I wrote! By the way, you might be interested to note that the publisher of that book and the other book publishers I've worked with retained the copyright for the books. I wish her well, but we just don't have a business that can support such payments and in a market as small as ours, publishing material in multiple similar publications just not feasible for the author or the publisher -- and certainly doesn't serve readers.

It's also true we retain the copyright for most articles we published. Sadly, what Jenna didn't tell you was why we do this, nor did she mention that it's for most, but not all articles. So I'm going to tell you, instead. If you read on, you'll also find out that when an author desires the copyright, we have no problem making it possible. Even Jenna's own articles don't appear to require copyright. On her own Web site, she has some great articles available for reprint with this requirement "This article may be freely reprinted as long as the bio is included." Notice that copyright isn't mentioned and, at least for the few articles I checked out, the bio did not include a copyright message. If your response is that the copyright is implied, then the term "freely reprinted" is no longer accurate.

We need to be accurate about what we're telling people. OK, back to ZATZ and copyright...

Shortly after we launched our first online magazine, we found complete duplicates of all our pages repeated on international sites located in Asia. However, instead of having our ads, the magazine reproductions were running ads from the folks who'd copied all our pages. A visit to our attorney informed us that without a global copyright, we had no way to defend ourselves from these site pirates. We spoke with our then authors of the time, and none seemed to care one way or the other about where the copyright resides. So we retain copyright.

But there is more to the story. We've only had very few authors who've ever asked to retain their copyrights, and when they've asked, we've worked with them to meet their needs. We have never, ever held a copyright hostage nor has our policy, in any way, prevented an author from going on and making a living. For example, some authors have asked to reuse articles in their books. We've never restricted this, although we've asked them (note the use of the word "asked" -- that's not "demanded") to include a sentence saying the material was originally published in one of our magazines.

You wouldn't know that because you didn't ask. You just accused, as Jenna accused when she first contacted me.

Rather than duplicating articles in their totality on their own Web sites, we recommend authors and others link to the published articles on ours. All articles we've ever published are always online and always available. That's why it's the Web and keeping those thousands of articles always available to everyone, everywhere, for free, 24x7, is expensive and it's a burden Denise and I shoulder.

You folks are most likely not our typical authors. Not because you're better writers or more experienced or ours are "on some really good drugs," but because most of you don't write about the highly technical topics we cover. Further, if you write to make a living, we're not likely to be a good source of revenue for you since we can't pay you for your work.

But because your business model for your writing doesn't fit our way of doing business, I'm not going to accuse you of anything. More likely, I'll just enjoy reading your writing, even if I need to go buy your magazine or book to do so.

We're all in a very weird state of mind these days. There's war stresses and post-election stresses and pre-holiday stresses and even the simple battle to make a living. In this high-strung environment, it's probably more important than ever to be aware of what we're saying and what we're writing.

That's why I take issue with this post, and certainly with being called "possibly the most abusive publisher ever." Admittedly, I always wanted to be ranked as a "most," but using the word "abusive" is honestly unfair and hurtful. No one on this board, including the board's operator, has any evidence whatsoever of abuse. None of you have written for us and none of you have worked with us. In a private letter to me, Jenna maintained that our policies were similar to sexual abuse. That's just insulting -- to me and to those folks who've really felt such abuse.

When Denise, my business partner, read Jenna's original comments, she too took issue with the word "abuse." Unfortunately, in response, Jenna chose to made fun of a typo Denise made. It's such a shame, because I really like this site and I really like what Jenna's doing, and I would have liked to know about this resource, share it with my authors, and support these great efforts. Instead, we're swapping attacks.

This, by the way, is how "The Man" keeps us down. Gets us fighting amongst ourselves.

The bottom line is we work hard. Very hard. I work seven days a week, trying to keep up with writing, editing, and managing the systems. I usually work ten or twelve hours a day. This is not the lifestyle of someone who's livin' large on other people's efforts.

For the record, we've sold two of those heinous reprints. They were of articles I'd written. And we charged that much because it took some time to do all the custom layout necessary to make the folks who wanted them happy. And yes, sometimes you charge a "rush" fee because you'd like to encourage customers to give you a day or so and not demand 4-hour turnaround when you're already working a twelve hour day.

Sadly, what Jenna didn't tell you about were all the benefits our authors do get from writing for us. Many of our authors use the magazines as opportunities to showcase their skills. We've had numerous authors tell us how thrilled they were to be published in our magazines and reach hundreds of thousands of readers -- and how being published by us has had an enormous positive impact on their professional careers.

Some of our authors are best-selling book authors and they contribute articles because it helps them to promote their books to much wider audiences than they might otherwise reach. Some of our authors are enthusiasts who take advantage of their affiliation with the magazine to gain access to the newest and coolest gear and to the most interesting innovators.

And yes, some of our authors are newbies, breaking into writing for the first time. I'm particularly proud of those folks. I've got letter after letter thanking us for working with them, for helping them to get published, and -- in a number of cases -- really helping to change their lives. As a result of our working with and encouraging these new writers, some have since gone on to write books and develop the confidence to be successful writers in their own right.

She chose to skip over those paragraphs. You see, we didn't just ignore these postings. Because (and Denise would say they shouldn't, but they did) these posts really hurt my feelings, I did my best to reply in-depth.

What's really sad is you've actually found a publisher who is, truly, one of the good guys. But everyone decided to shoot first and ask questions later, so you didn't find that out until too late.

As I said before, we're not likely to publish your articles because you make your living doing this with a need to get paid for your writing. We publish articles from people who make their living doing other things. Being published helps them make that living and strengthen their resumes. But were you to have submitted an article to us, and were there to be a big concern about retaining your copyright, a simple request would have resolved the issue to both our satisfaction.

This has been a very long post and I need to get back to my regular, seven-day work week. I will check back here over the next few days and assuming this post hasn't been deleted or edited, and assuming I can continue to reply, I'm more than happy to discuss any concerns any of you may have.

Let's just refrain from the name-calling, shall we? The world's already too nasty.

Best regards and with best wishes,
David Gewirtz

P.S. Yeah, I know. It's rambling. I'm pretty upset and when I get upset, I ramble. At least you know you've touched a real, live human being.

Kate St Amour
12-13-2004, 11:22 AM
Welcome to the boards Mr. Gewirtz!

While I'm giving you an A for writing such a moving piece, from the standpoint of someone who writes for a living, I'm still giving Zatz ( note: not you personally) a big giant frown. Perhaps, if I were trying to break into the tech. trade market I might consider submitting to a non-paying publisher, but I have to say I would really hate myself when the mortgage was due. Particularly when I know for a fact that many print magazines/trade publications pay 150-200 dollars per article and they would let me keep my copyright (without me having to ask).

Now, I have written for non-profit magazines (gratis), and for small trade magazines (also gratis) in the past for both clips and exposure. What I have found from lurking on these boards is that it looks better if you work gratis for a (big) non-profit than if you write gratis for a for-profit magazine. Additionally while gratis work (even for non-profits) can increase exposure, depending on *who* the non-profit is, gratis work on your resume can end up looking like all you can write for is the church newsletter.

Now, my husband is a techie. Not just your run-of-the-mill techie, I'm talking CISSP, computer mad scientist (don't get the man started on GNU vs. Linux). For him, something like Zatz might not be a bad thing, however he could also pitch to the tech mags and make up to 500 for his articles, so what is the benefit to pitching to Zatz?

Bottom line is that your set up is not advantageous to writers that do this for a living, which is what led to the public flogging earlier in this thread. If you have ever been scammed, or not paid for your hard work etc. I'm sure you can relate to the anger the others expressed after viewing your site through a been-burned-before lens. I hope that you also (after it stings less) take a look at what the comments are beneath the anger and sarcasm. Upon close examination of this earlier thread you will see what phrases/implied practices set off alarm bells in professional writers and you can then rework your site and practices accordingly without really having to hurt your (or anyone else's) pocket-book. Who knows, this could end up being a very good thing for you and for the writers who submit to you. (I'm a romance- writing idealist, what can I say?)

Happy Holidays!


aka eraser
12-13-2004, 11:44 AM
Hi David,

You say you "can't" pay your writers, even though without them, you wouldn't have a business.

I'm guessing you "can" manage to pay yourself and Denise though.

And your long dissertation doesn't obscure the fact that keeping copyright, attempting to re-sell the articles and pocketing the fee just plain stinks.

12-13-2004, 12:20 PM
Writers who write highly technical articles (for PC magazines, for example) get pretty well paid before they hand over their copyright.

You still haven't answered why you take the author's copyright, don't pay them a dime, then turn around and sell the articles for profit (all to your little bank account).

I'm writer's advocate, not a business owner advocate. I don't really care if you are running a business and you and your partner have to bring bacon home. You're taking advantage of your writers. And your business stinks.

12-13-2004, 12:47 PM
David -

You stated in your very eloquent response that you "don't get paid for much of what we produce" - but apparently you do get paid something. You appear to be company that is set up to provide goods and services for a profit. I assume you get paid for your publishing services you promote on your site. I assume you get a cut of the profits for the items you sell at your online store.

I assume you pay your webmaster, you pay for you P.O. Box, you pay for your phone lines. I assume you pay the vendors you use for your publishing services. I assume you pay everyone accept your contributors.

You say that you and your partner put in long hours to run your little company. No offense David - but many who operate small businesses work long hours and don't make a lot of money - or any money at all. And yet they are still expected to pay their vendors. - ALL their vendors. Just because you are dealing with intellectual property is not an excuse. Just because your writers don't complain is not an excuse. You are promoting your company by offering the articles free of charge to the reader - that does not mean it is acceptable that you are getting them free of charge from the writers.

If your business model does not allow you to pay your authors - then maybe you should change your business model.

The ironic part of this is if you had offered any money whatsoever to your authors - even if it was some token amount that came out to fractions of a cent per word - many people who are now attacking you here - wouldn't say being saying anything at all. In fact they would be defending you and probably attacking me - because I don't think a token payment is all that much better than no payment at all.

I don't think you are a scammer or a fraud or a creep like some of the others here. However I do think that you are taking advantage of writers - and do not respect them, which is extremely sad considering it sounds like you are a writer yourself. I would think that a writer who has been paid poorly in the past, would do their darndest to compensate others fairly.

Kate St Amour
12-13-2004, 04:48 PM
Simon speaks the truth. If you paid your authors something, even a nominal fee (25 dollars, 50 etc. and if authors kept their rights), most of us wouldn't be so upset. Although, considering the market you work in (which is a high paying market) even a nominal fee is fairly insulting. To reiterate: something is still a whole lot better than nothing.

12-13-2004, 08:48 PM
My first published writings were in technical journals. Even though I was a nobody, I was paid quite well so I do believe I have some understanding of this field.

Now one thing I don't understand is your claim that you're not making anything if your own publications have "hundreds of thousands of readers". In fact, if your publications have that many readers, then you should be making money quite handily from advertising revenue.

However, another that I see clearly is quite simply that you do not understand copyright law. You claim you gained the advice of an attorney. I'm betting that your attorney was not an expert in the area of intellectual property law which is what copyright falls within. Otherwise, you wouldn't have that strange concept of "global" copyright. Copyright is copyright. It's agreed to by many nations in the world according to the Berne Agreement. In other words, if you have copyright in one nation, it's respected in all other nations signatory to that agreement. Outside of those, there's little that anyone can do. Written work still remains a target for individuals in countries that don't respect copyright regardless of who holds the copyright.

What you should have done was copyright each issue of your publications. That gives you blanket coverage for the contents. It lets the authors retain their copyrights which, by the way, are probably still theirs anyway because it appears that you didn't obtain a transfer of copyright correctly. However, it doesn't give you the right to resell rights to other publications. In fact, in view of the fact that you're claiming not to have sold any other writings other than your own to other publications, it appears you're doing those writers a great disservice since they falsely believe that only you can resell those articles and you're not actively trying to sell those. If you were trying to sell all those articles, then it only goes to show that you're not particularly skilled in sales.

Also, if you're trying to be a central clearinghouse, then why doesn't your agreement include the authors in any profits made from sales of their work? Wouldn't that be the fair thing to do?

12-14-2004, 04:19 AM
First of all, this sort of thing is quite common in some areas, the academic press especially. I was once asked to transfer copyright of a web page I wrote to an academic publisher, and without a cent to me. When I asked about payment, they said they were a poor nonprofit magazine (with a $300/year subscription rate) and couldn't afford to pay their authors. Funny, I ran two nonprofit magazines and I was able -- and a a subscription rate less 5% of theirs. Needless to say, I told them to take a walk.

Back to Mr. Gerwitz:

"Shortly after we launched our first online magazine, we found complete duplicates of all our pages repeated on international sites located in Asia. However, instead of having our ads, the magazine reproductions were running ads from the folks who'd copied all our pages. A visit to our attorney informed us that without a global copyright, we had no way to defend ourselves from these site pirates. We spoke with our then authors of the time, and none seemed to care one way or the other about where the copyright resides. So we retain copyright."

That's why you go to the Library of Congress and get a compilation copyright. If this happens again, I'd suggest you get a new lawyer who specialized in intellectual property. The advice you got was just not accurate.

As far as your actual policy is concerned, it's good that you will allow exceptions. But you don't state this on your page:

"If you submit an article to ZATZ and we choose to publish it, you are thereby releasing any and all copyright to us. This, by the way, is the usual practice among most major magazines."

This clearly implies that you require all rights. I didn't see any indication you'll accept the article.

And, no, it is not the usual practice among "most major magazines." Some academic publications do it because they have the authors over a barrel (publish or perish). But no general magazine ever tries to take all rights -- and they pay very well if they need them.

12-14-2004, 11:28 PM
There's war stresses and post-election stresses and pre-holiday stresses and even the simple battle to make a living. In this high-strung environment, it's probably more important than ever to be aware of what we're saying and what we're writing.

I voted for Bush and I'm Jewish, so the first two aren't bothering me. The latter however, does.

I know there's a cohort who finds it exciting to see their 'name in print.' But for those of us who do this for a living, a credit in 'Zatz' means nothing. You have a nice little hobbyist site, but I doubt if any pro editors give much credence to a Zatz credit.

12-15-2004, 12:37 AM
For reference, I do write about technical issues, and I know I've never written for free on those topics. There are a ton of techy mags and publications out there that pay pretty well (and if anyone wants a list just ask me, I keep the sites and guidelines handy).

I think it's ridiculous to expect something for nothing, especially when that something is making you money. I actually looked at your publications a while back, and was pretty interested until I saw both no pay and all rights.

I'll admit that I've sold all rights to pieces for absymally low rates at times, but I've never given them away. Sure, you say your authors can ask for the copyright, but that's not the point. Many won't ask, or don't know to ask for that. Would first NA rights plus non exclusive archival rights really hurt you that bad? I think that would be more fair than the original setup.

12-15-2004, 01:28 AM
Once again, David, you're doing plenty of "talking" and not really saying anything.

You have still not given any justification for why you demand the copyright for works you've acquired without pay.

Simon, you're wrong on one point-- yes, most of us would keep our mouthes shut if he paid even a pittance-- BUT only if he was not claiming copyright. The issue for me is much more focused on the rights here than it is about the pay (or lack thereof). But the thing that earned my wrath most of all was the hypocrisy:

You may print a limited number of copies of the article to show to prospective employers and clients (and, of course, your mom), but you can't run a published article in more than one publication. It's just not done and it's really, really bad.

Oh yeah? So why is it OK for Zatz to sell reprints? It's just not done and really, really bad unless Zatz gets paid for it. Then it's dandy.

Also, on my sexual abuse comparison-- it wasn't sexual abuse, but that's OK. Here's what it actually was:

David wrote:

"They say perception is projection and in this case, I think you're more projecting your own insecurities and greed-based value system on us, rather than examining the boundries of your own world view."

I wrote back:

"My 'world view' tells me that millions of women stay in abusive relationships, too... that doesn't mean that the abusers are "doing something right" and I should just be more open-minded."

Herewith, my last e-mail to Zatz. I think my readers here can determine that I was doing a lot more than commenting on a typo:

Hi Denise! Pleased to meet you.

>>(about something that doesn't even affect you)

In fact, it does. I volunteer about 20 hours a week to work with new writers. Anytime I see a publisher abusing and misinforming writers, it affects me.

>>We have given them glowing references that helped them get new positions. We have gotten them into tradeshows they really wanted to attend.. etc.

Yep. My publishers do that, too, and astoundingly, they let me keep my copyright.

>>which we send out free to subscribers in order to support the marketplaces we feel it is our sacred duty to protect.

LOL! Sacred... duty... wait, I'm having trouble catching my breath.

>>We had the self esteen to believe that money isn't everything,

Glad your self esteen isn't hungry.

>>If your main priority is eeking out every bit of cash mileage from a piece of writing you can, than you are scarcity conscious and no kind of artist. This kind of thinking is very anti-creativity. You must not be very connected to yourself or to the great creative well if you don't trust that you can come up with another piece, that there's always more where that came from.

Pardon me while I stop crying. It's hard to see the keys.

David, hey! I just found something to help you out here-- Denise is obviously crying out for a pay cut. It'll make her more creative! Starvation really does wonders for one's writing abilities.

Can't say I never hooked a brother up.

That's twice you've both ignored the fact that I said I have written for free and have nothing against it. Nor do I have anything against writing for profit. That's three times that you've ignored the real issue here, which is that you're taking copyrights that don't belong to you and exploiting the writers who volunteer for you, the paid staffers.

Neither of you has found a single plausible reason to justify your embarrassingly poor policies.

Why is it that you charge $200-400 for article reprints and yet writers receive none of this money?

Why is it that you demand to own writers' copyrights?

Why is it that you charge advertisers up to $1000 a pop, considering how gauche money is and how you're so creative and outside-the-box that you think money is evil and those who want it must be greedy?

How do you face your own hypocricy when you tell writers that printing the same piece in more than one publication is "just not done" and "bad," then happily selling reprint rights to the pieces yourself and keeping the writers' money?

Writing a story for a non-profit literary zine is an outlet for creativity.

Writing a researched article for a for-profit computing magazine and letting others directly earn money for your hard work is masochistic.

By the way, I will own the copyrights to anything further that you write to me. By writing back, you acknowledge that you understand this policy.

12-15-2004, 04:05 AM
>>If your main priority is eeking out every bit of cash mileage from a piece of writing you can, than you are scarcity conscious and no kind of artist. This kind of thinking is very anti-creativity. You must not be very connected to yourself or to the great creative well if you don't trust that you can come up with another piece, that there's always more where that came from.

I was rather indifferent to the whole thing until I read this. What a bunch of absolute bull. I cannot believe that they played this card. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing for money when it's your main source of income. Bills need to be paid, people need to fed, and nobody, but nobody, is going to be impressed by your unpaid writing credits. "I'm sorry I can't pay the rest this month...but I have this awesome article that makes me feel really good and reaffirms my humanity and the humanity of those around me. Here, read it."

Now insert a long string of profanity. Use your artistic imagination.

Sgt Spanky
12-15-2004, 06:56 AM
This is like listening to a mugger explain why he stole your valuables and why it's wrong for you to miss them.

12-15-2004, 04:29 PM

Wait, David, one more point:

Even Jenna's own articles don't appear to require copyright.

I'm willing to accept that part of the problem may be that you don't understand copyright.

But here's the simple explanation for how what I do is much different from what you do:

Indeed, I have many articles available for free reprinting. Those articles are nearly always writing-related. I run them in my own newsletter, then offer them up to anyone who wants to run them in their newsletters/sites. I'm happy to do it because it gives me extra publicity for my books for no extra work. Each of those articles carries by bio and link, which is all I want.

However, the copyright to those articles is still mine. I do not need to put a copyright symbol on them; the work is automatically copyrighted to me and no copyright has been transfered when others reprint my work. You would be welcome to use my articles if I had written anything appropriate for your publication, but you would NOT be entitled to own the rights to them and forbid me from using/reselling the article. THAT's greedy.

I've made my living as a writer for a long time. I don't really care whether your VP thinks this means I must not be an "artist" and that I'm somehow uncreative because I prefer not to starve. But I never condemmed hobbyist writers or those who write for free.

I see it as part of my "sacred duty" to protect new writers from being misled, and no matter how much of a "pity me, I'm a nice guy" tone you use, you ARE misleading writers. You're giving them a false view of the industry, and you're giving them a bogus excuse about why you need copyrights. As Dave said, major magazines copyright their issues as a whole without claiming copyright of individuals' articles.

And whether or not you've been successful at it, the fact remains that you offer your writers' articles for resale without paying them, but tell them that they can't have that same right to resell their own articles or even post them on their own websites. And even though you say here that you'll make exceptions, on your guidelines, very clearly and in bold, you say that writers must be willing to transfer their copyrights to you. How would writers even know to ask you to make exceptions? Why should they *have* to ask for exceptions when you're asking for their work for free anyway?

How do you explain your good-guy intentions?

12-16-2004, 07:42 AM
The comment that a lawyer told them they had to have a "global copyright" hints that the lawyer confused copyright and trademark. Trademark, as explained to me by my lawyer, can be registered at several different levels (state and national are the ones I'm aware of) and requires a company to vigorously defend against infringement. This may be what led the lawyer to tell Zatz, Co. that they had to have a global copyright in order to go after infringers.

This isn't meant to defend Zatz, Co. As has been pointed out by DaveK and others there are ways to defend yourself against infringement without taking contributors' copyright. (And again, I doubt that Zatz, Co. could enforce such a policy as the proper procedure for transfer of copyright has not been observed.)

12-16-2004, 07:44 AM
Welcome, Raechel, good to see you here.

Folks, Raechel is quite knowledgeable about publishing.

12-16-2004, 01:40 PM
Welcome, Raechel.

12-17-2004, 11:21 AM
Hello Jenna, DaveK and everyone.

02-04-2005, 06:25 AM
I'm a little late chiming in, but I can point to slimy tactics from the get-go...

The owner/founder and I were both Macromedia developers during the 90s, communicating regularly within the same forums. Well low and behold, he must have really dug my name as he took it for his own. There's nothing illegal with that, but it is unsavory. Not so much as a "Hey, do you mind?" or "Hey, thanks for inspiring me" or a heck even a complimentary t-shirt.

I look forward to the day when the company folds, or at least changes names, so I can claim zatz.com for my own and sell my freelance writing to a company that isn't named after me.

02-04-2005, 06:16 PM
A couple of thoughts:

akaerase: "We gotta set up a Wall Of Shame to enshrine Meiners, S. T., this dude and a few select others."
That is easier than it sounds. Just go to blogger.com, start a new blog called 'Publisher Hall Of Shame' and you're done. No cost. Takes about 60 seconds.

But why have a web page for it? Isn't this message board doing the same thing?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing for money when it's your main source of income.

Slight correction: There's absolutely nothing wrong with writing for money - whether it's your main source of income or not. You are selling your work, that came from the sweat of your brow. You have dedicated several hours, days or weeks of your life to it - and you are never going to get that time back.

Compare that with making a living selling other people's donations ...


02-05-2005, 01:23 AM
I gotta chime in here.
You must not be very connected to yourself or to the great creative well if you don't trust that you can come up with another piece, that there's always more where that came from.Indeed, the well of creativity runs deep and its contents are unlimited. However, time is finite. I can always write another story, but, as timezpw says, I can't get back the hours spent writing the first one. So it's nice to get paid.

02-05-2005, 05:35 PM
Welcome, Dave, and sorry for the unfortunate name pilfering!

08-06-2005, 12:53 AM
Looks like they've expanded their product line. http://zatzhq.zatz.com/aboutzatz

01-29-2012, 02:12 AM
Updating link: http://zatz.com/info/

ETA: Updating URL, again: http://zatzlabs.com/

ETA2: as of '13 went all apps all the time, although magazine archive still available.