Popular Woodworking Magazine
be careful with readers contributions, ‘Tricks of the trade’.
I have an experience I want to share with you; unfortunately I can’t say it was a good one, but not the end of the world either…
All of you, who know me here on LJ, probably know I’m not a complaining kind of person.
Some months ago I was contacted by Popular Woodworking Magazine (PWM), they asked if they could bring one of my posts here on LJ in the magazine (They had found it them self).
I was of course proud, and said yes! (Imagine little me, Danish MaFe in an American woodworking magazine that was a fun story to tell my friends about, even my LJ friends).
Then I send them the stuff they needed, and explained my project, this took me some time, an hour or two, but I thought it was worth the effort and the fun.
Then app. a month later they wrote me again, this time that they wanted to bring five of my projects! Five!!!
Again I thought it was fun, and they told me I would participate in a competition about money for tools, and also I would receive 75-100 dollars for each contribution.
So now we were getting somewhere I was thinking, this could even pay a part of an airplane ticket (I was thinking of South Africa – DIV). As some of you know I’m retired due to an operation in my neck, so I could also use the money.
But something told me to check what was written with small letters, and nothing was written with small in the mails I had received, so I looked in the magazine (I am a subscriber), and then I had a wakeup call.
In the magazine, they write that the contributions will be their property after! Their property!!!
So I wrote them back, and asked what the meaning of this was? If it was also the case when they had contacted me? And if they found it fair not to tell me if so?
This started a series of mails, where they thought they could, perhaps not, perhaps, and so.
They did excuse for the lack of information.
One of my last mails was this:
I’m only happy you ask.
I think that if you want to own the rights of people’s ideas, yes then you should pay them a proper fee, something equaling to the time spend.
But if you post print them and hold the rights to re print and so on, I think the prices are fair, as long as you don’t try to take over the rights of the project, and then it’s what is called a win – win situation.
I say that I can give you the right to print my projects for the mentioned prices, and re use them for books, videos, and whatever, but not give you the right over the projects, this is the offer from me.
If I want to make a video, a book or whatever I want of curse the right to use my own project as I want, I put them on the web to share, and I will put them in your magazine to share, but I will not give away the rights like that.
I’m an architect, so I usually get royalties for the projects I sell, that’s a different story.
But you can ask the magazine if they will swap ideas, then I can get some of yours, at the same price… Smile.
No please take me serious, I try to be reasonable with you here.
(I only post this one mail to show that there was a good tone between us and that I tried).
This was as large as I could get, but it was not enough (think I made quite an effort).
At the end they had to ask the editor (Mr. Schwartz I suppose), and then the answer came that they insisted to have the right on the projects they bring!
Quote: (As you have discovered, this is common practice for magazines to ask for the rights to tips. In fact, other publications ask submitters to sign contracts…).
They did say, that they will not ask one to remove the post from LJ, but it can’t be used any other place…
Is that ok?
Is that really fair to the contributor?
Where I come from this would never happen, of course it’s not the publishers right when he asks you to send in a ‘Trick of the trade’, and pay you a symbolic price for it. (I worked with commercial for seven years).
But perhaps the land of the free, are not free anymore, at least when money are involved?
I have been waiting to see what offers they made me, but none of the editors called and offered me some of their projects for 75 dollar… Perhaps I should give Mr. Schwartz a call and ask if he will sell me some of his projects for 75 dollar, I don’t know why, but I think I know his answer. lol.
So where do I want to go with all this?
I just want my LJ, buddies to know that if you are ‘offered’ to be man of the month in PWM you also lose the rights to your own ideas and projects.
This is of course a choice; perhaps for some five minutes of fame are worth 75 dollar, to me it is not!
To end this, I will say PWM has been polite and always responded in a good tone (The editor of ‘Tricks of the trade, especially) even they did not know their own rules when asking.
But I have decided not to renew my subscription to the magazine, since I can’t support a policy like this against the readers and contributors (sorry I was otherwise happy to read it).
Fine wood working Magazine
I have spoken with Fine wood working Magazine, and they have explained me their terms for contributors, and this is not at all what PWM calls the ‘standard’, they write me:
If you were to submit a proposal for an article or a department submission—for which FW would also compensate you with payment—FW does ask your for the rights to do whatever they’d like with it in the magazine (you’d receive this in a contract), and that material would be given full rights for use in FW. However, FW has full rights, but not exclusive rights, to the material. This means that any ideas, text, etc that you submit to us are yours to use elsewhere as well. The only thing that FW asks is for there to be a 90 day period between the time that FW publishes, and when you post that same material elsewhere. This is mostly for strategic reasons, to not diminish the power of the publishing time. Once the material is out in the world for 3 months, it is usually fine to post things elsewhere. Here is more detail:
-if the photos for a final article were taken by you or a freelance photographer who you paid yourself, you own the full rights to those photos as well of course. (again, we just ask for a 90-day wait period before further publication.)
-if the photos were taken by the FW staff, they do belong to FW. Any use by you of the photos should be cleared through our administrator. This would happen once the article or department submission is completed. One thing which we often give to authors, however, is the first page of the article, much as you see on our website. This means that readers will be able to read the first part of the text or quite often see a very nice first-page photo of the item or jig, etc. You can use this as promo, link to the main article, etc. as you wish, I believe (Betsy can inform you further).
-submitting a proposal, and any materials with it, does imply your permission for FW to use that material as it sees fit. What this really means, is that we use it for determining if a further article or submission can be considered. We do this at frequent proposal meetings, and if you wish to submit anything, please feel free to do so directly to me, and I can move it along the process as quickly as possible.
Here is a full online version of our author guidelines, and the official version of what I told you is there:
You might also like to see this page:
This is to me fair treatment of the readers and contributors, and no I have no connection to them or any other magazine, just had to react, so I think I will try a subscription.
My thoughts now:
Perhaps after all the time has run away from Woodworking magazines, perhaps it’s time for new ways to share ideas, show projects and sell project plans on demand and at a fair price.
Perhaps it’s time that we look at the possibilities of the web, solutions where people who are willing to share their ideas can do so, and when they make a project tutorial and plans they even get a piece of the cake, and don’t lose the rights to what is theirs.
I have a feeling that we here on LJ are taking the first steps, and after this episode I intend to do more myself for a more democratic approach to woodworking knowledge.
For me at the end, the answer was quite easy to find in my heart, so as I said in the beginning ‘it is not the end of the world’.
If someone needs more info of the mails, then I’m a open source person, so feel free to ask.
-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.