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Running out of ink

edited January 2017 in Writing
This online magazine published three of my stories but closed a couple of years ago.
I can't find my contract - I'm not sure we even had one - and I'm wondering where I stand legally in relation to those stories now. Could I edit and use them in a self-published book or are they not available to me ever again?
Does anyone know?


  • edited January 2017
    It depends on the terms when they were accepted, though for an online mag it's unlikely they wanted exclusive perpetual rights. If you can't find the contract or acceptance letter can you find anyone else who was published there who might still have theirs and check with them? It will probably be perfectly fine for you to use them, but there is an outside chance it wouldn't - though if the magazine has closed not sure who would you chase you up on it even if they found out.
  • It depends on your contract, or the terms you accepted when you submitted, if there wasn't a contract.

    I know it's a bit late to say it now, but in future ALWAYS check what rights you're giving up BEFORE submitting, and keep a record.
  • Either get a box file or ring binder and print out the contract and or terms of use. Or keep a digital copy offline on a hard drive. That way you have everything together in one place and can easily refer back for future use.

  • Wasn't a TBer connected with it?
  • I think you're right, TN.

    It's Amy Kinnond, but can't remember her TB name.
  • Oh - Forget me not?
  • You're right, it was Amy. As for keeping records, i lost them in the move. I still have my Alfie Dog contract for the one story they accepted, so I'm not totally naive, just careless!
  • I'm friends with Amy Kinmond on FB, if you want me to ask her?
  • That would be kind, liz. Just a copy of her usual contract would be helpful, thank you x
  • I had some published on there, Lizy. I can't remember any contract and there was no payment

    Amy is on my FB as well
  • I've sent her a pm.
  • Lizy, pming you her email address she gave me. she just needs to know the stories.
  • If a magazine closes, wouldn't any contractual agreement be null and void anyway? One of the entities bound by the agreement has effectively ceased to exist.
  • I agree with that.
  • It's probably a relatively safe assumption - particularly for a non-paying online magazine that has shut up shop. It's hard to imagine them coming after you for using the stories in your own self-published collection.

    Still, courtesy's never a bad idea and I'd say Lizy's doing the right thing by checking. I'd probably also include a note to say where the story was first published when it came to putting the collection together. It can't really help the website in terms of promoting it, but it's a nice gesture.
  • edited January 2017
    Amy contacted me, thank you all for your help and advice. It seems I can now consider my stories mine again, and in fact I never lost my rights to them, so that's put my mind at rest.
    Danfango's comment is a good one, thank you.
  • If a magazine closes, wouldn't any contractual agreement be null and void anyway? One of the entities bound by the agreement has effectively ceased to exist.
    If they held all rights, or syndication rights, then they could have passed them on to someone else. Even if they haven't, if all rights had been given up, wouldn't they still be gone even if whoever acquired them was no longer in a position to use them?
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