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Publishing rights from date of publication--but what if it's not published?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Feo Takahari, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    An extract from the contract I received three months ago:

    I sent back a question regarding some specifics, and haven't heard back. This is a pretty long wait even for this publisher (who tends to take a month or two to reply to emails), so I emailed again today asking what happened.

    My question is, if I were to agree to the contract, and then the story never got published (which I suspect might be a possibility), what would happen to my rights? If the story never had a "date of publication," would I ever get my rights back? (Even if I don't go with this publisher, it'll be good to know for future reference.)
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    You need to have an explicit reversion of rights, wherein if certain publication targets aren't met, or sales goals aren't met, or whatever other condition you want isn't met, the rights in the work revert to you.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    What Steerpike said. There should be a clause concerning reversion of rights, usually tied to publication by a certain date.
  4. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    That can probably be easily rewritten. The publisher is trying to defend his exclusivity in these clauses, not trying to gain rights to the work in perpetuity. I'd suggest amending it to two years from the date of the contract being agreed on.

    Cheers, Greg.
  5. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

    Is that language copied verbatim? Because it makes no sense. It is stating that they have the right to publish it for two years. Usually the language is something like they have 2 years from when the contract is signed to get the book in print otherwise the rights revert.

    From my reading, you could get into a state of limbo unless the date of publication is listed somewhere else in the contract.

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