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Canadian Newspapers Now Making a Rights Grab for eBook Rights

If you have a couple hours to spare today there's something I'd like you to read. Story Board, a blog written by and for indie Canadian journalists, has been running a series of posts this week on the changing attitude of Canadian newspapers and magazines as they wake up to the possibilities of re-publishing feature articles as ebooks. Do you recall how Ars Technica often sells its OSX reviews as a stand alone ebook, or how any number of US magazines are re-purposing previously published articles as short and tightly focused ebooks? This is also going on in Canada, only there's a catch.

I had been planning to mention these posts in one of my morning coffee posts, but now that I have read them in a single sitting I thought they deserved more attention.

As Derek Finkle elaborates in one of the posts, a couple Canadian publishers are rewriting their freelance contracts. They are awarding themselves more rights to republish an article at a later date. In a later post he discusses how writers could be shortchanged when a publishing house tries to acquire the rights to an older article.

The first post in the series is more of a general overview of  magazines'  growing shift into ebook publishing, and it is well worth a read. I would say that this entire series is worth reading.

If you have any interest in getting paid for writing or an interest in paying someone, this series could best serve you if you looked at it as a set of case studies.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

1 Comment on Canadian Newspapers Now Making a Rights Grab for eBook Rights

  1. This is something similar to what happened in the early days of online databases. Newspapers and mags granted electronic rights they didn’t own and a huge lawsuit ensued. Now they’re trying to wrap up such rights up front. My advice: Don’t sign.

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