View Full Version : Contest entry and perpetual rights

Doctor Shifty
01-03-2008, 03:37 PM
'On The Premises' is a newish contest driven short story ezine. www.onthepremises.com

They seem to be an OK crew with everything above board. My question is about how long they (or anyone similar) should have certain publishing rights.

Each four months they have a competition with cash prizes. Contest winning stories form the ezine edition for that quarter. The organisers (by paying cash prizes) buy the HTML and PDF rights to the stories.

How long should such a place expect to hold those rights? I don't mind signing over rights to some place that is going to use the material such that it is available. But ezines are notoriously short lived and if this one goes off the air the question of who holds continuing HTML/PDF rights to my story is debatable.

All this, of course, assumes that I am going to win something. This is also debatable.

Any thoughts anyone?

PS. If this should be in another forum I'm happy for it to be moved, just that I couldn't find a forum title more suitable.

01-03-2008, 09:13 PM
We don't have a Contests forum and I wasn't really sure where to put this (since there's no "beware" attached, it didn't seem to belong in the Bewares forum), so I've moved it here.

According to the downloadable version of the Rules (http://www.onthepremises.com/contests/rules_assets/OTP%20Contest%20Rules.pdf), they buy first HTML and PDF rights. This means they have the exclusive right to first publication in those formats. Sometimes this right endures for a specific period of time--say, one month after publication. After that, you should be free to sell reprint rights in those formats and also any other rights, such as print rights--though a print publication might regard previous electronic publication as first publication, period, and be willing to consider the story only as a reprint.

The online version of the Rules (http://www.onthepremises.com/contests/rules.html) omits the word "first," which is a bit confusing. Before entering the contest, you should probably write them to make sure that the downloadable version is the correct one.

Presumably, if they choose your story for publication, they'll offer you a contract (be very wary of any publication that doesn't at least provide a letter of agreement). Be sure to check the contract for wording about archiving--electronic publications often claim the right to archive your work indefinitely, and you need to be sure that's something you want.

- Victoria