Author Topic: All rights  (Read 5928 times)

Julie B. K.

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All rights
« on: October 27, 2014, 08:48:23 PM »
I recently entered a haiku contest that required the poet to sign over all rights to enter. Usually, I try to avoid contests or publications with this requirement in favor of first rights, so that I know I retain ownership of my work for the future. But for this particular contest, I noted several prominent haiku poets had entered, despite the all rights stipulation. Is there a time and a place where giving up all rights to your haiku is worth it? I feel like I must be missing something ...

Thanks in advance!
Julie B.K.

sandra

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Re: All rights
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2014, 10:12:17 PM »
Hi Julie,

I'm with you in avoiding these types of contest. I sometimes wonder if rules such as this which have been translated into English are perhaps mis-translated and the signing over of all rights is not what's actually meant, because it does seem draconian.

On the other hand, I wonder if the "prominent haiku poets" simply ignore that stipulation if they ever need to re-use the poem in some way. I suspect that's what generally happens. Who's ever going to know?

All the best,
Sandra

AlanSummers

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Re: All rights
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 07:50:26 AM »
Dear Julie,

I recently entered a haiku contest that required the poet to sign over all rights to enter. Usually, I try to avoid contests or publications with this requirement in favor of first rights, so that I know I retain ownership of my work for the future. But for this particular contest, I noted several prominent haiku poets had entered, despite the all rights stipulation. Is there a time and a place where giving up all rights to your haiku is worth it? I feel like I must be missing something ...

Thanks in advance!
Julie B.K.

Hi Julie,

I'm with you in avoiding these types of contest. I sometimes wonder if rules such as this which have been translated into English are perhaps mis-translated and the signing over of all rights is not what's actually meant, because it does seem draconian.

On the other hand, I wonder if the "prominent haiku poets" simply ignore that stipulation if they ever need to re-use the poem in some way. I suspect that's what generally happens. Who's ever going to know?

All the best,
Sandra

Sandra made good points here.   I am concerned that you knowingly recently entered a competition which may have rightly or wrongly stated you were signing over your rights.

I'm curious how you could know at an early stage of the competition that 'prominent haiku poets' had entered too.

There have been useful debates over rights in various places on the internet, and it could certainly be useful if there was a central webpage specifically for haiku writers.  As haiku is incredibly short, it does come into its own category regarding rights over quoting for instance.

The only times I'd consider the possibility of a haiku being owned outright is by being given a paid commission by a commercial organisation, or a joint commercial organisation and city council, or just a city council for a piece of public art.   I've been given a number of paid commissions over the years but I cannot ever remember being told in the contract that I hand over copyright, it's usually shared copyright over the 'writing'.

If this is a competition created by a non-English Language country/organisation, it may be as Sandra has stated, simply a bad case of translation where the legal aspect has not been correctly put into the right phrases.

I have risked some of these competitions, and I would find it very hard for them to argue they have rights over my work if I have not been paid a large amount of money.   I'm not being vain here. :)    Sometimes I send a haiku to a competition that is not merely competition written, in fact I dislike and avoid creating haiku that I either think or know a competition or magazine will automatically like.  That goes against my own personal development as a writer.

All I can say is that you read every single word carefully.

For instance I am running a competition for both published and unpublished work and people are more than welcome to ask questions about that aspect, as well as the individual writer's notes (a free aspect of the competition) that I am keen to reproduce as the author's voice in a forthcoming book which is part of the competition.

Of course many organisations will not or cannot respond to questions before during or after a competition, for good or bad reasons.

Personally I like dialogue. :)  Especially as the book coming out of the competition/project will contain individual author voices and not just my voice as the main editor.   

I'm unusual in that I like questions asked, and attempt to answer them promptly unless I'm caught up in an emergency, and then I'll still attempt to reply with one to two days.

So, summing up:

ALWAYS READ EVERYTHING:
re guidelines, extra notes, every single page they have about the competition or magazine

Do Some Research (on previous results from them, or magazine issues)

Ask questions of them, or ask questions here, or privately message or email myself, or another moderator, or Sandra, if she is comfortable receiving emails, as she runs a database on competitions.

As both a moderator of The Haiku Foundation; as an editor of magazines and anthologies; founder of With Words; and just as an experienced individual over twenty years, I am happy to be contacted regarding any concerns over copyright, competitions, magazines, as I run courses that touch on these aspects.

My email is:
alan@withwords.org.uk

Or you can private message me here, or post replies here, or create a new topic (if it's a new question about a different situation).

Or do all of the above too! :)

warm regards,

Alan

PAllen

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Re: All rights
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 09:11:21 AM »
Hello Julie B.K.,

I’m curious. . .

Was there a form involved that required your signature that stated you acknowledge you are relinquishing all rights? I see a “he-said/she-said” conflict without a signature.

Best regards, & best of luck in winning,

Phil
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Julie B. K.

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Re: All rights
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 06:50:20 PM »
Hi Phil, Alan & Sandra:

Oh, dear. In my attempt to be vague I seem to have made a muddled mess here.

The contest is the Ito En Haiku Grand Prix. It's a monthly contest and I read through all of the 2014 winners to date, which is why I recognized several names among the monthly semi- finalists. Someone I admire and follow on Twitter had a link to the contest, and I'll admit that I wrote a poem for entry without carefully reading the rules. By the time I got around to the submission page, I thought, oh, what the heck, it's one poem, I just won't enter this contest again and I'll write off this poem to experience. But then, a couple of days ago I got a note that I was a semi-finalist for September - yay! - and I had to send in a signed affidavit which basically said - if I read it correctly - that I was signing over all rights, which was my understanding even if I hadn't placed anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. But it was kind of fun to enter and place, which made me wonder about the merits of entering a contest like this in the future.

Hope this clarifies things! I appreciate the insight.

Julie BK


AlanSummers

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Re: All rights
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 07:02:40 PM »
Hi Julie,
Hi Phil, Alan & Sandra:

Oh, dear. In my attempt to be vague I seem to have made a muddled mess here.

The contest is the Ito En Haiku Grand Prix. It's a monthly contest and I read through all of the 2014 winners to date, which is why I recognized several names among the monthly semi- finalists. Someone I admire and follow on Twitter had a link to the contest, and I'll admit that I wrote a poem for entry without carefully reading the rules. By the time I got around to the submission page, I thought, oh, what the heck, it's one poem, I just won't enter this contest again and I'll write off this poem to experience. But then, a couple of days ago I got a note that I was a semi-finalist for September - yay! - and I had to send in a signed affidavit which basically said - if I read it correctly - that I was signing over all rights, which was my understanding even if I hadn't placed anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. But it was kind of fun to enter and place, which made me wonder about the merits of entering a contest like this in the future.

Hope this clarifies things! I appreciate the insight.

Julie BK

You were very clear, in fact I guessed it was this particular competition.   Both Ernie Berry and Janice Bostok have had haiku published on the bottles of tea.

In fact Ernie presented me with one or more because he quite literally got sent a huge shipment of bottles, enough to last a year of drinking green tea. :-)

Ernie never mentioned concern over this aspect, and I don't remember Janice telling me any concerns, just being pleased to have the haiku on bottles that travel the world including my local train station sushi bar in Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa.

It sounds like fun, I even entered the competition ten years ago, once I think, but I think I demurred sending entries for years because of the copyright issue.

I can't believe a court action would be issued against a haiku writer for using their own poem in a collection or anthology, but you can always seek out a specialist lawyer.

I can't imagine they can legally own a haiku that you composed that didn't even get placed, that is plain bizarre if you don't even receive a prize.

Haiku being so short, they'd be hard put, surely, to pursue you though the courts, unless they could prove you effected their business by several thousand yen/dollars/pounds etc...

As an exercise you could ask a lawyer or someone from the Society of Authors or the equivalent of your country.

warm regards,

Alan

PAllen

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Re: All rights
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 08:22:58 PM »
Ah yes, residuals... I languish in its poverty ;-) best of luck! I'm rootin' fer ya!
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sandra

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Re: All rights
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 09:12:03 PM »
Quote
The contest is the Ito En Haiku Grand Prix

Yes, it is the Japanese contests that tend to carry this stipulation which is why I wonder if it's something that's lost in translation. The other major ones are the Matuso Basho Festival Haiku Contest, which has been run something like 68 times!, and the newer Fujisan Haiku Competition.

However, the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum Haiku Contest makes no such stipulation in English, nor does the Kusamakura Haiku Contest.

Perhaps an approach to the contest organisers to ask if that's what they truly meant might be in order ...

Good luck anyway,
Sandra