Quick question/clarification on contract terms

Discussion in 'Writing' started by theWallflower, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. theWallflower

    theWallflower Start judging

    Apr 28, 2008
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    I recently signed a contract for four-year, worldwide, non-exclusive rights on a short story. I assume this means:

    - four-year: the terms last until 3/17/2016 (date of the contract + 4 years)
    - worldwide: not 100% sure -- they can sell it all over the world, does that mean I can't sell exclusive international rights?
    - non-exclusive: I am free to sell it as a reprint anywhere.

    Is all that correct? Am I missing anything that would aid me?
  2. KatG

    KatG Garrulous Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 22, 2003
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    More or less. The end date of the four years should be stated in the contract. You can have them add it in and you may have to initial that.

    Yes, it means you can't sell someone else exclusive international rights or exclusive rights to France, etc., only non-exclusive ones. It means they have a non-exclusive right to print or e-print it in any market anywhere in the world for four years. You've given them the world as the contractual "Territory." Did the contract specify English language non-exclusive rights or no? Because translation rights -- the story translated into French for instance -- you could sell exclusively if their contract is only for English language rights. If they also have translation rights, they could sell it to a French publication for French translation and you should get a piece of that, like 50% of the net monies received for it. Plus, that would mean that you couldn't sell exclusive translation rights. So the contract needs to specify language as well as Territory and if it doesn't, you might want to try to amend it to be clear what rights are granted. Most mags would only want English language usually, unless they are planning anthologies that would then be sold for translation to publishers in different countries and might include your story. So you need to know all that and have it be clear.

    Yes, they have no exclusive license. You've granted them the right to publish the story but you can sell it to other publications -- magazines and anthologies and websites -- as well.