Firstly, I normally schedule my posts to appear on a Monday morning, but the subject of this post is topical, and rather than delay this until Monday, I felt it better to post it earlier than planned.
Clause 1 of the contract says that DC Thomson want: The exclusive right to first publication in any Media (as defined below), in any language, anywhere in the world in any of the Company’s Products at the Company’s discretion.
I was worried by one element of this … the fact that the clause gave no guarantee that DC Thomson would publish within a set period of time. If a writer can’t sell to other markets until DC Thomson has published the text, then that could cause problems. DC Thomson could simply stockpile material.
(*This is a bonus section that I decided to add after sleeping on my thoughts overnight.)
The Society of Authors picked up in the contract that Clause 2 might prevent writers from offering First Rights in other countries. First, let’s look at Clause 2:
In my email to Angela, I mentioned that Clause 2 discusses the fact that material could be reused without further payment, so did this mean that more will be paid in the future for the first use of our work. (Well, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!)
I know there are many writers who were concerned about the new contract and it’s implications for pocket novels and longer serial collections, etc. I’m sorry, but this is not a market I’m involved in, so I have not pursued this, at this time. There are other writers who are investigating the implications of these clauses, so you may be able to find out more information elsewhere. But, if it isn’t, then contact DC Thomson and ask them yourselves! DC Thomson are introducing this new contract, so they are expecting writers to have queries. They’re anticipating writers getting in contact with them. So, don’t disappoint them!
- if you become aware that DC Thomson owns a foreign publication, then it might be prudent to check whether you’re still free to offer first serial rights to a publication in that same foreign country. (At present I don’t think this is an issue, but as I said, I cannot verify this. At the end of the day, this is the individual writer’s responsibility.)
- if you have any queries, then ask the editor. (Rumour has it they are human, and when they do a Number Two in the Loo they have to wipe their own bottoms, just like the rest of us. Sorry for lowering the tone here, but editors are not some nine-headed beast that will blacklist you forever, simply because you asked a question! Remember to keep this in perspective!)