Most new writers are so eager to sell their work that they don't stop
to consider what rights they are selling. "Rights" refers to how a
publisher can use your work. "Rights" has nothing whatever to do with
what you are paid or the copyright of your work.
***First North American Serial Rights, or FNASR, are the most
common rights purchased. The purchasing magazine has the right to
publish the author's work for X amount of dollars, while the author
grants the magazine permission to publish his story (or article) one
time in North America. If you are offering these rights to a magazine,
you will want to place "Offering First North American Serial Rights" at
the top of the document.
*** One Time Serial Rights – If you are simultaneously offering
your story or article to several publications, you will want to place
"One Time Serial Rights" at the top of the page. This grants the first
magazine that snaps up your work the right to publish your story or
article one time.
***Second Serial Rights – If you have previously sold the story or
article, you will be offering Second Serial Rights to the next
magazine. They will be able to publish your work once.
***All Rights – Unless someone is hiring you to develop a work for
them, such as developing a course for a school, shudder at the sight of
these rights. It means you are signing away "all rights" to whoever
bought your work. You may never sell the work again, publish it, copy
it, download it, or transfer it. You have no rights whatsoever left.
***Work for Hire – This is another "right" that you should shiver
at. Work for Hire can only exist in two ways: Either you have created a
document as an independent contractor and you are selling the rights to
it, or you are being paid as an employee and your work was created
during your work time – which gives your boss all rights.
***Non-Exclusive Rights – This one is not desirable either.
Although the "rights" refer back to you after one year and you can sell
it again, the original buyer may continue to use the work and reproduce
it in syndication without sharing the profits with you.
*** Exclusive Rights – If you sign these rights, you have given
away the farm. An example of this would be Associated Content and other
like places that assume full rights when they buy your work. You will
not be able to reproduce it or sell it again. It's gone. Ker-plunk!
Down the toilet.
***One-time rights – You can sell one time rights simultaneously to
as many people as you want. Columnists use this right to sell their
articles to multiple markets.
As you can see, there is only the difference of a hair's breadth on
some of these rights. Keep this article in your safe and don't sign
anything without referring to it!
There are many more types of rights as well, but this covers the most prom