Q. I recently submitted an article to a magazine, offering first serial rights. They wanted to buy it, but said they would only accept all rights. However, they assured me that they would reassign those rights to me after the piece was printed. I'm OK with that, but need to know if that reassignment will now happen automatically after the piece is published, or if there is something I need to do to make it happen? Also, is the answer the same whether I was paid for the piece, or just got contributor's copies?
A. It will not happen automatically. As soon as the piece is published, you need to send a written request to get the rights to the piece back. If the publisher sent you a contract for purchasing the piece, the information concerning getting the rights back should be covered in that contract, so be sure to check the contract before you take any action. It makes no difference whether you are paid for the article or just got the copies.