Few days ago, I saw some sites (forgot the URL's) where you give a fiction or non-fiction piece, if they publish it, the copyright rests with them for 6 months (limited time) and then revert it back to the author. I have seen this in very few sites, could anybody enlighten me or share any web-sites where they have seen it like that.

  • Could you be more specific about what you mean by "sites?" Are you referring to a site where anyone can just post their writing or do you mean online journals? Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 19:35
  • @TerriSimon sites where people post, get paid for their writing but let's say 6 months down the line the author wants to turn it into a book or something, the copyright reverts back.
    – shirish
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 19:37
  • It sounds like you are saying sites where you just post your writing but (somehow) get paid for it, which seems different from an online journal with editors who accept work and pay for it. I'm being sticky about this because these are different types of sites and may follow different rules. From what I've seen, any reputable site will request First rights of some sort (maybe digital only, maybe digital and print, or First American rights, etc.). Many will request that you don't publish in a separate place within a certain period of time and that you give them acknowledgement when you do. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 19:41
  • Any website that wants all the rights to your work should be avoided at all costs. There are plenty of reasonable places out there where you can submit your work. Don't give away all your rights. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 19:42
  • 1
    Such an arrangement strikes me as being like someone asking you to give them your sandwich for 6 months, after which they will give it back to you. You may not find it is as valuable when you get it back as it was when you gave it.
    – user16226
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


Since @shirish and I had quite a back and forth in chat, I'm going to summarize the discussion.

The OP does refer to sites where you submit your work and publication is determined by an editorial staff. It does not refer to sites where you just post your writing.

I recommended he avoid sites which either ask for all rights that they then return to you after some given amount of time or want to enforce a Creative Commons license on your writing. IMO, most reputable journals will ask for first time rights of some sort, with rights reverting to the author upon publication. Many will ask for the right to reprint. Also, many will include the information on rights on their website under Submissions or Guidelines. For an example, see http://www.bellaonline.com/review/submissions/ Mused is an online journal which has published several of my poems and has a Rights section clearly given on their Submission page.

There is a difference between copyright and the rights assigned to a publication. The author has the copyright but assigns certain rights to the publication. In the example in the link above, they ask for first time worldwide rights, which revert to the author upon publication.

I believe there are many journals out there which are clear about this kind of information. Rather than attempt to provide a list, which is both off-topic and a hefty job, I made two recommendations. One is duotrope.com, which has an extensive database of writing markets. The other is Writer's Digest's marketing guides. When cost is a factor, it is sometimes possible to find the marketing guides at a library. With both Duotrope and the guides, I recommend going to the journal's website to view their current guidelines.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.