Rights in magazine article

I published several magazine artcles in a few magazines back, between 2002-2005. Two of the magazine no longer exist. Can I use those articles again? Ie resubmit to other publiations? Thank you.

31 viewspublishing law

Alasdair Taylor's Answer

The best way to answer this question would be to look at the contract between you and the magazines in question – although I suspect that, as you are asking this question, there is no written contract.

In the absence of a written contract, there is lots of uncertainty here. A few points to bear in mind when considering the question are:

  • assuming there was no written contract, there would most likely have been a licence to the magazine publishers, rather than an assignment/transfer of copyright;
  • the terms of such a licence would be “made up” by a court looking a the issue, taking into account any previous dealings between you and the publishers, and also standard industry practice;
  • one issue would be whether the original licence was exclusive (vs non-exclusive;
  • another issue would be whether the original licence is terminated, which may depend upon the legal status of magazine publisher, and what the legal consequences of a termination would be.

With so much uncertainty here, I can’t sensibly give you any specific guidance.

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