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noelsmith

Model Cars Magazine? Will it Survive?

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Here is my input from fifty years in the business. First, anything you create is automatically copyrighted at the moment of creation. If you write an article, the moment the text appears on your computer screen...or a yellow pad, artist's canvas, sketch pad, etc...it is copyrighted. Photos are automatically copyrighted the moment you take them. When a magazine or book publisher acquires something you have created, they specify what rights they buy. If they say they buy first rights, they have the rights to the property for the initial publication, then after a specified period of time...such as two or three months, determined by the magazine...the rights revert to you and you can do what you wish with it. Normally, magazines buy all rights, which means they own it, you don't.

 

However, that doesn't prevent you from rewriting the same material so that it does not resemble the original material and using it elsewhere. You can also ask the magazine/publisher to reassign rights to you. If they do so, it's as if they never bought it in the first place. Regarding payment policies, magazines/publishers should specify somewhere what their policy is. If they don't, contact them and ask. This applies whether you send an article over the transom....in other words, on speculation...or if it is produced on commission. Since Model Car Magazine states that articles sent on spec are regarded or accepted as free of charge for the magazine to use, they are telling you that they will not pay for them. Left unsaid is the rights they are buying...and since you sent the article on spec and they are using it, legally they are buying it...so you need to inquire about that situation. Commission articles? If they commission an article you definitely want to know how much they are paying before you agree.

 

Another thing to keep in mind. If you produce a print book...heck, any kind of book, print, ebook, pamphlet,etc...and you have the rights to the material, you still cannot duplicate the FORMAT without violating their copyright. In this case, the copyright isn't the material, it's the layout/appearance of the finished product.

 

Hope some of this helps.

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Really interesting post Richard

Should help many would be writers about the copyright minefield when writing for magazines.

I guess that one way around it would be to place a copyright notice with any submitted or commissioned work that it remains the intellectual property of the author and that they are only being permitted free use or buying the use of the article and not ownership. They would then have to decide whether to use it or not if the author has placed this restraint on it.

Edited by noelsmith

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Noel, no, no, no.

 

When you write an article, that is your copyright, henceforth and forevermore. It doesn't matter if you sell the article or give it away, it's still your property. However, if they use the article, then they own it IN THE FORM IN WHICH IT WAS PRINTED. BUT you still own the copyright. If they buy all rights, then you can't reproduce it in any form without their permission. If they buy only first rights, then you are free to market the article anywhere else BUT NOT IN THE EXACT FORM IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN. In other words you can market the manuscript and let the next magazine lay it out however they choose. You also need to let the next magazine you submit it to know that it has been previously published and where. Fail to do that and you will be considered unethical.

 

Another situation you run into is when a magazine buys all rights but doesn't care what youi do with it after two months. I spent several years writing for a magazine under exactly those conditions. The only thing they objected to would have been if I published it in another publication word-for-word without their being

acknowledged as the original published source. Change it up significantly and lthey didn't care.

 

Hope this clears things up a little. Let me know if it doesn't.

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Hi Richard,

Thanks for taking the further time to clarify the issues with copyright. It is reassuring to know that a reworded or rehashed article is fair game to offer to another outlet.

Over the years I have re written or modified articles for publication bringing them up to date with new materials and techniques that have become available. Generally they have a gap of about four or five years in between them anyway. Glad to know I have been doing nothing wrong!

I agree with the ethics that you mention, about being up front with who you are offering work to if your work has been used before, albeit in a different format. In the past I have found that it is generally appreciated when you let a new editor/publisher know about any previous use of the work. It is far better to be honest, allowing them to make an informed decision about using your revised article or not.

Our discussion has not only clarified a few things for me, but other would be writers reading this thread will also benefit from your publishing industry expertise.

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Glad I've helped. One final comment: Do not take anything I've said as 100% gospel for every publication or publisher. Finally, my experience/knowledge only applies to U.S. publications/publishers. International copyright is a totally different ballgame that can vary from country to country.

 

Also, photographic copyright and use don't necessarily follow the same path as manuscripts. Again, it depends on the magazine. The copyright is always yours, but be sure to check how the publication/publisher handles purchases/use. The last magazine I wrote for has no restrictions on the photos. I can use them anywhere I want to without crediting them as a source. Others have different rules. So always check.

 

If you want an example of how crazy some of their logic...or illogic...can be, I produce a CD-ROM on the Lockheed P-38 Lightning (WW-II fighter aircraft) that contains over 350 photos, including a substantial number of original Lockheed photos. I have their permission to use the photos on the CD, BUT if I sell a print from one of the images on the CD, I violate their permission. Reason? If I sell the CD containing all of the images, I am NOT the source of the photos. BUT if I sell a print from one of the CD images, I AM the source of the photo! Go figure.

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Thanks for the further information with regard to copyright of photographs Richard.

This again could potentially be a bit of a minefield for the unwary.

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Still remain unpaid the 400 dollars for my Duel article that went to press in the Nov 2015 copy of MCM despite chasing it up during the latter part of 2017. I get the distinct impression that after all this time there is no intention on their part to to pay me at all so they will be getting nothing more from me. I guess that many past writers like me remain unpaid for work commissioned and have also stopped writing for them. Latest I have heard is that the magazine subscriber deliveries are still way behind. Would imagine their subscriber base must be shrinking big time as people get fed up with waiting indefinitely. What ones do remain have a lot of faith to hang in there. But how long before their faith wears thin. Also heard that they do not pay for contributions any more? No encouragement for writers there wouldn't you say. I think this year will be make or break for MCM.

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Noel, from what you're saying it sounds like MCM is dying by the inch and it's only a matter of time before the last nail is driven into the coffin.  What will finish them is when the remaining subscribers decide not to renew when their subscriptions expire.

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I think the popularity of the forum has carried the magazine for years

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This has been going on for over 3 months.  Some good info has been presented.  

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Looking on Scale Auto forum recently someone heard that there was a rumour that Scale Auto would be amalgamating with Model Cars Magazine. This was rightly denied by the editor of Scale Auto Magazine. Could not see Kalmbach ever wanting to take on MCM as it simply has no need to!

Edited by noelsmith

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Agreed.  Keep in mind that Kalmbach bought two car modeling magazines...Scale Auto Magazine and one other that I can't remember..., killed one and kept the other.  Incidentally, the one they killed was arguably the better magazine, but that's another story.  MCM will probably die on its own and doesn't need Kalmbach to help the process.

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Richard,  was the other magazine that Kalmbach bought Model Car Science? Or had that magazine long gone before?

Modeler.....alias   .Glue Manchu!  Nice pseudonym!   Er!  What happened to your post?  Just an emoticon?

Edited by noelsmith

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Model Car Science, a magazine I also wrote for, goes back into the '70s and was gone way before the two that Kalmbach absorbed/bought.

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To me it seems like car modeling magazines are more common than armor or aircraft. 

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Hi Robin

Auto Modeling is much bigger in the USA than in the UK, so oK guess that is the reason for your observation about car modelling magazines stateside. Over here in the UK out main street outlet W H Smith (equivalent to your Barnes and Noble?) Has a monthly plethora of mainly aircraft modelling mags followed closely with military then boats and model engineering mags but no auto modelling mags whatsoever. They carry Airfix, Tamiya and FSM that may have auto related modelling articles within the rest of their content. A couple of auto modelling magazines of UK origin came and went after short publication runs. I guess that this simply reflects the model making habits of each of our two nations in general.

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Noel,

Keep in mind that NASCAR/Stock Car Racing is very big in the U.S., particularly the Southern U.S.  It is not uncommon to see an attendance of 200,000 or more at some of the larger tracks, such as Texas Motor Speedway here in Fort Worth, Texas.  And let's not forget the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis, Indiana, though that event has nothing to do with stock cars.  That kind of following helps support print publications that focus on automotive models.  Still, print publications of all kinds are bucking a stiff headwind as a result of the digital revolution.  Some are surviving and even thriving, such as FSM, while many others are hanging on by their teeth if they continue to exist at all.

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