‘The Man’ blinks - sometimes
COPYRIGHT GRABS may well have receded somewhat in the age of web mags and "papers", . Many big old publishing corporations are still waving around heinous contracts lawyered up to deprive freelances of their rights – including copyright.
'The Man' can appear implacable. But do not despair: it can always be worth a bit of a negotiate.
Take for the example the case of one branch member negotiating his first commission for one such mighty company - a company rather well-known for its frowny insistence on obtaining all rights in media yet to be discovered in universes yet to be invented. Or something.
Our member read the standard contract. He said he wouldn't assign (legalese for "hand over") his copyright. And, lo, the commissioning editor emailed a non-copyright-grabbing alternative version by return. As all our freelance grannies used to say: "Don't ask, don't get!"
The editor adds: large companies with self-contained legal departments can be the hardest to negotiate with. They are, however, more likely to have pre-packaged "fall-back" contracts. One other company has at least one separate contract intended for writers who have literary agents. Editors may be under instructions not to reveal that these exist... but they do. See the links below for more advice