Help with Short-Edition Terms & Conditions (Legalese)

Hello! I recently found out about this wonderful company called short-edition which puts up little short story dispensers around the world for people to pick up free things to read. In my library, we’ve got one that has buttons for 1 MINUTE, 3 MINUTES, and 5 MINUTES; the length depends on which one you click.

I would love to submit to them–I write a lot of short stories, and they pay $125 in advances for each accepted one–but I suppose my “too good to be true” sensors are tingling, and I want a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Take a look at these terms and conditions. Are permanent exclusive rights too much to ask?

Thank you to anyone who can help me out! I promise I’m usually very good at reading comprehension, but when it comes to all this jargon I’ve got no idea… I’m mainly asking about Sections 3 & 4.

Well, it depends. I wouldn’t ever give them something that you intended to expand into a novel or that you planned to put into a short story compilation someday. What concerns me most, though, is that they’re taking exclusive audio rights.

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Overall it’s not TERRIBLE - A little rights grabby (and I never like “life of copyright” terms, but I would have expected a lot worse than what I saw.

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I hate any contract or T&C that infringes on derivative works, but in this case all they want is for you to put a mention to them, which isn’t the end of the world.

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Of course; so this is what I’m looking at–is the worst of it that I just wouldn’t be able to publish it elsewhere? I’m sure I can dig something up that’s good and not collection-esque that I could submit to them and not feel bad about being unable to post/publish elsewhere.

Audio rights–tell me more about that! Personally I wouldn’t be likely to do anything audio-wise with any of my work myself; why would it be negative for them to have the rights to that?

(Thank you so much to the replies so far! I really am hopeless with jargon…)

Audio rights are pretty lucrative these days, so you are giving away a right that has a potential for future income. Also, if they are not aggressively pursuing that avenue, then you are giving away a right you, yourself could exploit. I know you say you wouldn’t…but thats where you are today. Will you always feel that way? Because you are essentially handing that over for all time (because of life of copyright as the term).

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That’s true. I think what’s playing into this very strongly is that we’re talking about short pieces, and I write probably 10-30 short stories a year of varying sizes. This one has to be under 8,000 characters, which is so small I’m not even sure yet I’ll have a proper piece. I don’t really see myself reading aloud a three-minute short story, basically, or selling it to anyone to read in a collection… etc. Maybe I’m missing something about the audio market and what people do with their work, though.

You’re not. Short stories can be more than 10K words – we had no way of knowing that this site publishes what is essentially flash fiction.

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