Most creative 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 prominent ones.