Re: Mainline Modeler - Hundman Publishing - who really owns the copyright?

Tony Thompson

Marty (not signing his full name) wrote:


I have been reading this thread with interest but the answer still seems murky. But then that could be because the law is flexible. So let me ask a question and hopefully there is a clear answer. Let us say that I wrote an article for a current publication (which I have and am waiting for it to be published).

Do I retain the copyright or does that vary between magazines? If I retain the copyright then in theory I could submit the article to another magazine right now for publication. That, to me, seems unethical and probably would cause me to not have any future articles to be considered. Not a very good idea. If I retain the copyright then it would appear that after a reasonable amount of time, I could update the article and publish it again. But I am more interested in the next question.

     For you not to hold copyright, you have to relinquish it to the magazine. You can do this on a one-time use basis, in other words they have the right to publish it one time. No republishing, including in "collection" volumes. Obviously you have to assign them SOME right or they will not publish. This, however, has nothing to do with WHEN an article may get chosen to publish.
      There is a VERY strong rule in the publishing world: your submission to anyone MUST be only to them. Anything else and your name will really be "mud" permanently, even if you are only caught in advance and nothing actually gets published. Editors in most fields do know each other and do talk. Your odds on getting away with multiple submissions are slim.

Which copyright supersedes article ownership? Is it the magazine you first published in or the company that the magazine reassigned all articles to? The second company could be more strict on articles they own and not allow the author access to anything he wrote. Perhaps even publish the article again without asking permission or possibly not reimbursing the original author.

       I don't know what you mean about "reassigned" copyright. Rights are like property. They can be bought and sold, but only one entity holds them at any one time. It is true that a magazine that holds unrestricted copyright to your material could sell it to someone you don't like, but you would have given up rights and can't object. Another reason to only assign "one-time" rights to any periodical. And if you have given up all rights, yes, you have no access to your own material. Either don't assign rights that way, or be very sure you trust the recipient.

Tony Thompson

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