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Old 01-14-2018, 01:28 PM   #76
John F
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Ok real life scenario : I sold all the rights to a short story years ago. The company I sold it to has since sold out. What are the chances I can get my rights back without a long legal battle?
Since you sold all the rights, why do you expect to get them back?
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:23 PM   #77
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@pwalker8. I use the term in a less rigorous sense than the logical fallacy of argument from authority, as should be obvious from my post. You are appealing to the authority of your sister as a qualified lawyer implying she agrees with your mangled understanding of precedent.

As for myself, I had the pleasure of practising law and also teaching it at a university. Not of course in the US, though I suspect you will find few lawyers in common law countries who agree with your view of the essential worthlessness of the doctrine of precedent because of its inconsistency. It is of course not perfect, but tends to err more on the side of rigidity. You may like to do some reading about the development of the law of equity.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:29 PM   #78
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Since you sold all the rights, why do you expect to get them back?
I don't but pwalker was saying I could get them back. I was giving him a real scenario where the author no longer owns his own words.
Oh and didn't get any money for the story. Just a discount off the book it was published in.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:18 PM   #79
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Ok real life scenario : I sold all the rights to a short story years ago. The company I sold it to has since sold out. What are the chances I can get my rights back without a long legal battle?
There was a case like that that's kind of famous among older programmers. Michael Abrash wrote "The Zen of Assembly Language Programming", which quickly became a standard in the field. Many considered it the first really excellent book on how to be a good assembly language programmer. It sold like crazy, at least in comparison to other very technical programming books.

Then the publisher was bought out by a company that decided to drop computer books. They had bought all the rights to Abrash's book and even though they had no interest in the book anymore there was nothing he could do to get it back. As I recall he sued them unsuccessfully, although I'm not sure I remember that correctly.

In any case the book went out of print and stayed out of print for a lot of years. Second hand copies started selling for a lot of money. Abrash wrote a sequel, to which he kept the rights, and it was very successful. He couldn't actually write a sequel to his earlier book so he named this one "The Zen of Graphics Programming" or some such. I'm typing this all from memory.

Finally, years later, he got the rights back to his original book, I forget how, and he put it on the web in PDF format.

I think most of us can agree that copyright is necessary to encourage writers, as the Constitution says. But it's ugly stuff. Kind of like bad tasting medicine.

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Old 01-15-2018, 06:16 AM   #80
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Ok real life scenario : I sold all the rights to a short story years ago. The company I sold it to has since sold out. What are the chances I can get my rights back without a long legal battle?
I don't know, what does your contract say? You should probably check with your agent or lawyer if you are interested in getting the rights reverted back to you. Sometimes they will revert it back if it's a story they don't plan to republish. I've read more than a few authors talk about the process.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:52 AM   #81
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@pwalker8. I use the term in a less rigorous sense than the logical fallacy of argument from authority, as should be obvious from my post. You are appealing to the authority of your sister as a qualified lawyer implying she agrees with your mangled understanding of precedent.

As for myself, I had the pleasure of practising law and also teaching it at a university. Not of course in the US, though I suspect you will find few lawyers in common law countries who agree with your view of the essential worthlessness of the doctrine of precedent because of its inconsistency. It is of course not perfect, but tends to err more on the side of rigidity. You may like to do some reading about the development of the law of equity.
I kind of figured that is where you are coming from. I assume that you do understand that copyright law and the legal tradition in the US is very different from Commonwealth countries. While in theory, the US is a rule of law country and the judges simply apply the law, there are many situations where judges apply their own judgement. Roe v Wade and the trimester rule is the most famous example. No where does that appear in any legislation passed by Congress or in the Constitution. Fair use in copyright was originally a judicial concept and did not appear in copyright legislation until much later. Anti-trust is mostly derived from rulings rather than legislation.

While common law countries might disagree with my characterization, that characterization is this basis of a school of thought in the US legal system.

“American legal education has long been devoted to the training of common-law lawyers, and hence common-law judges. What aspiring lawyers learn in the first, formative year of law school is how to discern the best (most socially useful) answer to a legal problem, and how to distinguish the prior cases that stand in the way of that solution. Besides giving students the wrong impression about what makes an excellent judge in a modern, democratic, text-based legal system, this training fails to inculcate the skills of textual interpretation.”

- Justice Antonin Scalia.

There is a reason why decisions in the appellate court system are not all unanimous and why judges write dissenting opinions.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:13 AM   #82
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As a follow up, I would suggest you take a look at Scalia's essay in A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law. His essay is "Common-Law Courts in a Civil-Law System: The Role of United States Federal Courts in Interpreting the Constitution and Laws". It's a very good book. The format is Scalia's essay, followed by comments by several law professors (Tribe being the best known) and Scalia's response. It's available on the kindle fairly inexpensively, but I'm not sure if it's available in Australia.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:50 AM   #83
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I don't know, what does your contract say? You should probably check with your agent or lawyer if you are interested in getting the rights reverted back to you. Sometimes they will revert it back if it's a story they don't plan to republish. I've read more than a few authors talk about the process.
It said "by submitting this story, you give us the right to use it in any of our publications and you cannot publish the story anywhere else.
Standard boiler plate for magazine publication. I have no lawyer nor an agent, but you said your sister "the trial lawyer" said it would be possible to get back the rights.
So now I expect your sister to do this at no charge to me. I mean if it is that easy.
Oh and the story was published more than 20 years ago.
If I was really concerned I would be contacting Reader's Digest who now owns the rights.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:41 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
...but you said your sister "the trial lawyer" said it would be possible to get back the rights.
So now I expect your sister to do this at no charge to me. I mean if it is that easy.
Just because something is easy to do doesn't obligate someone else to do it for you for free.

Getting dressed is easy. I'm not going to come to your house to dress you
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:39 PM   #85
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Just because something is easy to do doesn't obligate someone else to do it for you for free.

Getting dressed is easy. I'm not going to come to your house to dress you
I know there is no obligation but if his sister wanted a test case to set a precedent , she could certainly use my short story. It follows the parameters pwalker was trying to set.

Oh in that case, I want to see you put on a corset by yourself.
We could make a fortune with that video.

Oh and on the getting dressed, I once had a neighbor that wanted to get me on the show : "What not to wear ".
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:45 PM   #86
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It said "by submitting this story, you give us the right to use it in any of our publications and you cannot publish the story anywhere else.
Standard boiler plate for magazine publication. I have no lawyer nor an agent, but you said your sister "the trial lawyer" said it would be possible to get back the rights.
So now I expect your sister to do this at no charge to me. I mean if it is that easy.
Oh and the story was published more than 20 years ago.
If I was really concerned I would be contacting Reader's Digest who now owns the rights.
Actually, no I didn't say any such thing. I said it was a matter of contract law. I also said that you should consult your lawyer or agent. Hopefully you read your contract more carefully than you read my post.
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:02 PM   #87
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Actually, no I didn't say any such thing. I said it was a matter of contract law. I also said that you should consult your lawyer or agent. Hopefully you read your contract more carefully than you read my post.
Which post? You said several times that it was contract law not copyright law and that authors can easily get their rights back because it is a contract according to your lawyer sister. And about precedents.

I have read every one of your posts about copyright. You tried to tell Daryl that authors don't give up their copyright. Therefore, I want you to prove it. I gave you a real life example if you care to do it.
Does your sister specialize in Intellectual property laws?
You said she was a trial lawyer, (civil or criminal ).
So why don't you put your money where your sister's mouth is?
I have heard of a few authors getting their rights back due to fraudulent or very misleading contracts. They are very rare and that has to be proven.
Standard boiler plates aren't fraudulent.

Though darn it, now you have me curious as to what really happened to the contracts when Reiman sold out to Reader's Digest.
Off to make a call. Make that sent an email.

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Old 01-15-2018, 02:08 PM   #88
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I know there is no obligation but if his sister wanted a test case to set a precedent , she could certainly use my short story. It follows the parameters pwalker was trying to set.
A: leave the poor man's sister out of it.
B: assuming she said what she said and you disagree, it would be your job to get the ball rolling. Not hers.

You should take a debate class. You would probably enjoy it.
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:13 PM   #89
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A: leave the poor man's sister out of it.
B: assuming she said what she said and you disagree, it would be your job to get the ball rolling. Not hers.

You should take a debate class. You would probably enjoy it.
Hey if it means not getting anything accomplished, I will debate with you all day. More fun than laundry or taking out the trash. So now how about that corset ?
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:17 PM   #90
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It said "by submitting this story, you give us the right to use it in any of our publications and you cannot publish the story anywhere else.
This does not say that the copyright was assigned.

A copyright assignment is when the copyright holder transfers ownership of the copyright to another person or organization.

What was the duration of the contract, because your publication prohibition should only have been for that time.
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