Q. I'm a humorist and over the years have sold a good number of humor pieces to newspapers and magazines. Although most only bought first rights, a few did buy all rights. Is there anyway to get those all-rights pieces back to include in a book I'm working on?
A. It's certainly worth a try. Just contact those publishers and ask if they will reassign the rights to you. Most will, unless they have their own plans for reusing them. If they do release the rights, they will likely provide a credit line they will want you to include in the acknowledgments page of the book indicating they were the original publisher. You will also need to let the book publisher know that the pieces that appeared in newspapers are not under copyright and are in the public domain. The exception is if you asked the newspapers to carry your copyright notice on the pieces when they were published originally.