Statements appearing in these forums represent the opinions of the authors
of each post, not the opinion of WritersWeekly.com and/or BookLocker.com.
It is currently December 22nd, 2014, 3:25 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: July 1st, 2004, 9:05 am 
Offline

Joined: June 30th, 2004, 2:04 pm
Posts: 1
Hello writer's weekly and writers. Thanks for this forum.
Subj: I had an article published without my knowledge or contract.

Eight weeks ago I learned that a UK yoga&natural health magazine, based in london, published my article in their may-june 2004 issue.
They never contacted me before putting it in print.
I never had the chance to discuss contract and rights.
They did include byline and bio.

Background: In feb 2004 I had emailed a query, with article attached, and full contact info.
I never heard back. Then, may 2004, I received an email from the editor, to "Congratulate you on the feature that you did for our May issue."
I was shocked!

Despite repeated requests to please call to talk it over, they refuse to call. When they finally agreed to schedule a phone appt, after 7 weeks of asking, they were a no-show.
Now they don't respond to my emails requesting to reschedule.

My article is a feature article in their current issue on newstands in the UK and US.
Is this a form of piracy?
This magazine is using my work without buying it. It’s on the newstands and they are telling ME how much they'll pay for it. I can’t afford to hire a lawyer. They won’t give me the courtesy of a call. I submitted an invoice and contract which is ignored.

If my only solution is to accept the magazine's low fee (187$ for 1500 word feature story), after they published my work without contract, it seems a sour solution indeed.
It would be unfair to me, their "vendor."
It would keep unfair treatment under wraps, with no public censor on this type of behavior. For instance
1. A publisher could publish writers’ work all the time, without contract or rights and get away with it, and never have a consequence.
2. A publisher could always set lowest fee, after the fact, and never have to negotiate before publication.

I like to look on the bright side and think a terrific editor will read the article and commission me!
But the unprofessional behavior is really distressing, and taking too much time and energy.
I know its not worth the hassle to deal with unprofessional people. But that's like acting like a bully so people tiptoe around you.
They are avoding me although the situation was caused by their Mistake.
They could show cool professional instincts (and make a friend) if they had picked up the phone to say, "We are so Sorry! We made a BIG mistake. Let's put our heads together and resolve this fairly." What a difference that would make.

I recently wrote the National Union of Journalists in the UK. Here is their response,
"When a magazine publishes your work without permission you would have the right to tell them what your fee is. If they did not agree, you would be able to pursue them legally. However, as you live in the United States, the cost of coming to the UK to sue someone is probably much greater than the fee you are seeking" –NUJ

Feedback and advice is much appreciated. Many thanks,
Marget

_________________
Marget


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 1st, 2004, 10:59 am 
Offline

Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1880
You should alert them to your post here and tell them you're going to start naming names if they don't pay you your standard fee for your article. What they did is a violation of US copyright law. Other writers need to know who did this so we can all avoid this unprofessional publication.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 1st, 2004, 11:21 am 
Offline

Joined: January 13th, 2004, 4:38 pm
Posts: 426
You say you can't afford a lawyer. Okay, I wish everybody who got screwed like this would sue the bastards, but I understand that that's not possible.

Nonetheless, you should invoice them for the full amount, specifying what rights you're selling them (at this point I'd only say "first UK rights"). Keep a copy of the invoice for your tax records. When they don't pay the full amount, the difference between what they did pay and what the article is worth becomes an "uncollectable debt." This is deductible on your income taxes.

You'll only be getting pennies on the dollar this way, but at least you get some little thing more than what they paid.

And who knows? If you invoice them there is a little chance (okay, it's actually only the teeniest of tiny chances) that they'll pay it. Good luck!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 1st, 2004, 7:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: October 8th, 2003, 4:46 pm
Posts: 687
I'd write them a very friendly little note and attach it to an invoice for $1500. If you don't have an agreement, neither do they, so when they don't pay the full amount, simply send them new invoices every 30 days until they're past due the standard 90 days, then write and tell them you regret you have to report to them the BBB and take them to small claims court or whatever you can think of.

Cathi


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2004, 8:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: March 14th, 2004, 12:01 am
Posts: 23
Location: Nova Scotia
It has been my experience that unsolicited manuscripts usually receive different treatment than manuscripts that have been requested and / or contracted.

Many publishers do not pay until after publication, and under these circumstances, (unsolicited manuscript that they wind up publishing), do not notify authors of acceptance until the piece has been published. Most publishers also set the fee ... the fee is not set by the author unless the author is a recognized expert in a particular field, or the general public considers the author to be a SOMEBODY.

Almost all magazines have a set amount they pay for articles whether they are solicited or unsolicited, and the amount varies depending on whether or not they are buying first rights, reprint rights, etc. I've been dealing with magazines for nearly 25 years now, and I have yet to see a situation where I get to dictate how much I want to be paid for an article.

Unless you made it clear in your query letter when you sent your unsolicited manuscript to the publisher that you were selling the article for * X * amount of dollars, and that is the amount you expect to receive if they published it, you probably have no recourse.

_________________
Carol Kern - Author of "All Kinds of Heroes" - a tale of life, love and survival following a devastating act of cyber-terrorism that shuts down all electrical and communication systems across North America in the dead of winter.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 7th, 2004, 5:49 pm 
Offline

Joined: February 28th, 2003, 7:14 pm
Posts: 10
What lousy luck, marget.

I almost feel like a heel to add this, but I think you've learned a valuable lesson here: Don't send the completed manuscript until you've got a deal in hand.

Is there a small claims court in the U.K. that you could use, like here in the States? If so, maybe you can get a judgment against the company, then see if that gets their attention.
Kathy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 7th, 2004, 11:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: December 29th, 2003, 4:44 pm
Posts: 12
I could have this wrong, but it appears that you sent the manuscript to them without having queried previously or otherwise learned their rates. That they subsequently published it and sent you a check for what they felt it was worth should not have surprised you.
Congratulations on your sale. In the future, you may want to query before even writing the article.

_________________
---
Joel Wideman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 8th, 2004, 6:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: December 23rd, 2003, 1:52 pm
Posts: 11
Hmmmm, how did you find out about them and what were you expecting as payment? I mean were they listed in a writer's market that suggested the payment would be more than they offered? If so, then that's a point in your favour.

You will need to find a fee schedule for them.

Look around and see if any newsstands in the US carry this magazine. It sounds odd, but there are specialist newsstands that carry foreign titles. Now, here's where it gets interesting. IF you find a copy of the magazine sold in the US, then you can sue them. What you do is sue them and their US distributor for the harm done and copyright violation. This makes the distributor responsible for paying you. As I said, it's complicated and a pain, but it's cheaper than going to England.

BUT before you do all that, you have to establish the normal fee schedule or failing that you must be able to show that your work usually sells for more money, and that had you known they paid so poorly you wouldn't have bothered.

If this is a reprint I think 50% of the first rights is fair compensation.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 11th, 2004, 7:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 11th, 2004, 3:54 pm
Posts: 14
Wow ... tough one there.

Like someone else mentioned, find their submission guidelines (and keep in mind the exchange rate.) You might just be out what you consider to be fair compensation, but at least you have been published and have a great clip for your clipbook. $187 isn't a lot but it's more than many publications offer.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but if it makes you feel any better we all get taken to school a time or two in our careers. I can't stress enough the importance of joining a writing association or a writer's union so that they can put their resources behind you during these sorts of disputes.

Good luck to you.

_________________
When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?'. --Sydney Harris


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group