Ever wonder who owns that story you just sold to a small publication? You do. Contrary to popular belief, unless you've signed away your ownership, the story is yours to resell as often as you want, once the publication has published its "first rights."
I learned that at lunch today with Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore attorneys David Cohan and David Paxton, a couple of corporate lawyers who know writers' rights--and the rights of those big, scary publishing companies, as well.
David Paxton will share some of that knowledge Sept. 15 at Center in the Square in the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge's fifth edition of its Writers Workshops series. David's presentation will be the first by a non-writer, but it will also be as important as any verb conjugation, dangling participle or gerund you've ever known anything about because David's words can protect you from those who would prey upon you and your talent.
We asked David--and next month CPA Joe Schaban--because there's more to writing than writing and knowing the rights of writing is ... uh ... right. Forgive that. I got carried away. Anyhow, David wanted to know what you need to know and I gave him this outline:
- Who owns my stories?
- Do I own the story if I write it to a specific assignment?
- Who owns my photos that go with the story?
- Can I resell any of this?
- What is first rights; second rights; etc.?
- How do I protect myself from liable suits?
- What is the publisher's responsibility for my freelance story?
- Can a publication force me to write only for it in a specific market? What are my rights?
- What if I don't get paid for a piece that is published? Do I have any rights?
- What if the story I write as an assignment does not publish; must I be paid? What are my rights in this situation?
- Do I have any rights as regards uses beyond what we initially agreed to: publication in a print edition? If it is published online, is it my right to demand additional payment?
David Paxton, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore attorney
Your Rights as a Freelance Writer
Presented by The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge
2nd Floor Galleries Center in the Square Roanoke, VA
For more information or to register for these free workshops please contact: