Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Permissions, Releases and Contracts, Pt 1

Negotiating the legalese world of permissions, releases and contracts as a teenager is confusing unless you're a prelaw student or your mom's an contract lawyer. However, there are some simple guidelines that I've found to be useful

Contracts. Contracts state that you are giving up certain rights (such as North American rights, all rights, etc.) to a magazine or e-zine in exchange for an agreed-upon sum. Make sure you know what rights you are giving away. I don't care as much about selling all the rights to my work if I'm being paid and I can't see myself re-using the article in question. Always note the price and date you will be paid.

Negotiating prices. You receive your contract and the payment is $25 less than you thought it would be. Do you email the editor and complain? This depends on how bureaucratic the magazine is. If the editor always responds within 24 hours to your emails and seems eager to work with you, you can bring up the price. However, this is best done before a contract is brought up. These are almost impossible to change if you're working with a major mag.

Negotiating rights. If you're unhappy with the rights you're supposed to be giving away, talk to the editor. Be prepared to wait, be prepared to be frustrated, make sure you know what is important and why it is important. That said, I relax my rights-worries when dealing with big name companies and magazines with good reputations. Be worried when dealing with Small Zine Nobody's Heard Of, and comb that dang contract.


Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Very informative! I'll bet a lot of adults could benefit from that wisdom, too.
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience
Ch. 1 is online!

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious. If a teen gets a publishing or magazine contract,they have to get their parents permission before signing, right? I mean, both the teen and the parent/guardian would have to sign the contract, right?