SFWA’s Contracts Committee has recently been seeing a proliferation of contracts from small magazines, and a very few established markets, that license all derivative rights in perpetuity.
This is a red flag for a number of reasons, even if these rights are licensed non-exclusively.
A derivative work is defined by copyright law as “a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted.”
This sort of rights grab is by no means normal; magazines generally only take very limited first publication and archival rights for a limited time.
Licensing the right to create derivative works can and mostly likely will interfere with the author’s right to exploit their right to create or license derivative works to others.
The risks of signing such contracts can be serious.
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