Magazine Article/Filler question

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  • If a book is copyrighted is a magazine article that is an excerpt from that book automatically copyrighted or does a magazine article require its own copyright?

    Also, can "Filler" for a magazine be copyrighted if the material is taken from a chapter in a copyrighted book?
  • That should depend on the magazine's agreement with the original author. It's most likely that the author would grant the magazine limited permission to reproduce that segment but retain copyright of the original whole. The magazine, however, may have added illustrations, introductions, a distinctive layout and so on that would be copyright by the magazine.
  • Thank you for your response. Much appreciated.

    Can Filler in a magazine need to be copyrighted as well?

    I am the author of the soon to be published book I referenced earlier and I wanted to submit some articles to various magazines and I am guessing since the articles will not be an exact excerpt (I will need to alter/edit the content to make it specific to the individual magazine) each article needs to be copyrighted regardless if the book that the material came from is copyrighted? Thank you soooooooooo much. This is a huge help for a nibbie like myself.
  • It's copyrighted by you as soon as you write it. Since the original book is your copyright, you are allowed to take things from it and edit them. What rights the magazine has depends on your contract with them. When you get their contract or agreement, look for things like "non-exclusive right to reproduce your work." If this is your first time, you might want to have a lawyer walk you through it.
  • "Non-exclusive right to reproduce your work" - is that a good thing to look for in a contract with a magazine or does that signal that they own the rights to my article? I probably will not make much money for the article so an attorney might be out of the question at this point. For a book contract, yes; magazine articles and fillers, I am not sure. Also, can I copyright the filler too and if the filler comes from my book that is copyrighted then I am assuming it works just like the article and it is covered. If it is separate from the book is there an need to cpyright it since it would be real brief? Thanks again. Jane, you are a huge help.
  • It all comes down to your contract. Anything you write is immediately copyrighted by you, and you automatically have all those rights spelled out in the copyright law -- to reproduce and perform your work, for example -- without regiesting it or anything. But what you sign away in the contract determines what you can do with it afterwards. If the magazinze asks for an exclusive right to your item, that pretty much means they own it and you would have to get their permission to reuse your work in any way. If their contract asks for non-exclusive rights, then it should be spelling out exactly what use they want to make of your material, and anything else is still your right. So if they had a non-exclusive right to print it in this issue of their magazine, you would still have the right to reuse it in a book or read it in a class. They may include a clause saying that you have to wait a certain period of time to reprint it elsewhere, but then you can do what you like.
  • Thank you, Janet, once again for clarifying things. I always thought that I would have to do something legal-like/official in order to have my book or magazine article/filler copyrighted. I did not realize that it is copyrighted the minute I write it. This sure saves a lot of time and expense.

    Even if the book is not 100% complete (I am almost there) I am assuming everything that is written so far is copyrighted based on what you said earlier.

    I will make sure an attorney reviews a contract with the magazine prior to my signing any paperwork.

    Do you have any experience, or know anyone you can recommend that I can speak to (yes, this probably is a ridiculous question yet it is on my mind and I would like it not to be) about how safe a query letter with my ideas are. My fantasy is since I am a new writer when I send a query letter to a magazine if they like the idea they might suggest it to one of their seasoned writers and there is no way to protect my idea. Am I being totally silly? You can be honest with me. I would like to move this off my mind so I can proceed with my work.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  • I don't really know much about query letters. This is where an agent might come in handy. I know some forums where science fiction authors talk about the nuts and bolts of getting published. might be a place to start, and they have links to other writing sites that could be helpful.

    Everything you write is copyrighted when you "fix it in a tangible medium," but it is possible to take the extra step of formally filing for copyright with the copyright office. This can protect you if you are afraid you will need to establish the date your copyrighted item came into existence. For most things, this isn't really necessary, and there are fees and sometimes a long wait.
  • Janet, Thank you. I will follow up as you suggested. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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