APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2009-03 > 1236371869
From: Ray Beere Johnson II <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Question rregarding copyright
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 12:37:49 -0800 (PST)
--- On Fri, 3/6/09, W. Scott Smith <> wrote:
> I am writing an article/chapter for inclusion in a book being produced
> by a local historical society. The content of the article is based on
> research that I am doing for a larger book of my own. When I give this
> article to them, do I relinquish my rights to the content, or can I
> reserve rights to my article?
I am not a lawyer; if you need legal advice you should talk to a lawyer who specialises in IP law. From the sound of it, _you ought to do just that_.
That said, my _layman's_ understanding of copyright law is this: if you are the author, _any and all_ rights you do not _specifically_ assign to another party are _automatically_ reserved to you. The kicker? (And there is a kicker!) If you sign _anything_ no matter how "innocent" it may appear, without the advice of an IP lawyer, you risk assigning rights you do not understand in ways you did not plan.
_Also_, even if you are successful in keeping the rights to the material in your article, if you plan to seek a publisher for your larger work, you will need to be careful there as well. Some publishers will not accept works that have been previously published - or, in some cases, works in which a specific portion / percentage of the material has been previously published. If you sign a contract with a publisher agreeing to something you don't understand, again, you risk problems.
The advent of the Internet has made this even more complex: anything available on the 'Net falls under different standards than, say, a work published in the United States alone.
Bottom line: if this really matters to you, either forget about doing the article, or consult a lawyer _who specialises in IP issues and take the time to fully discuss the aspects that concern you_.
Ray Beere Johnson II