Sigh. Another crappy publishing deal. This firm wants me to write a 500-word encyclopaedia entry and assign copyright entirely to them, with the right to re-edit in the future. And what do they offer in return?
A Â£30 book coupon and access to a paywall website.
I just can’t see why I would find this offer at all attractive. I don’t need the book coupon or the key to that paywall. (Indeed, the paywall thing is simply like getting a copy of a book you contribute to, only much cheaper for them.) It wouldn’t improve my CV noticeably to publish 500 words under this firm’s imprint or under the volume’s somewhat famous head editor’s byline. 15 years ago it might have.
So they offer me nothing I want, but they demand a gift of something I own – my copyright. And the right to fuck around with my writing in the future!
(a) The Contributor hereby assigns to the Publisher for the full term of copyright and all extensions and renewals thereof the entire copyright in the Contribution and any revisions thereof, including but not limited to the right, by itself or with others, throughout the world, to print, publish, republish, transmit and distribute the Contribution and to prepare, publish, transmit and distribute derivative works based thereon, in all languages and in all media of expression now known or later developed, and to license or permit others to do so.
(b) The Publisher shall have the right to make such revisions, deletions or additions to the Contribution that the Publisher may deem advisable in the interest of space and uniformity of style and presentation, provided that the accuracy of the text is not impaired.
I’m turning them down. They’re a major profit-making company, not some academic society. And clearly academic writing isn’t a marketable commodity. I often write for free. But I resent having to pay a publisher in kind so they can sell my stuff.