Contracts and rights

Make sure you retain the ability to receive secondary rights in any contract you sign. This allows us to collect money owed to you if third parties reproduce, lend or reuse your work, including photocopying fees or overseas public lending rights. This is under the terms of UK and international collective licences or collective licensing schemes.

If you write magazine or journal articles, remember that retaining the copyright makes it easier for us to collect fees on your behalf.

If you’re an audiovisual writer, ensure there is a quit-clause in your contract. You can find out more about this from the Writers’ Guild.

When the terms of your initial contract end, you should seriously consider reverting the rights back to yourself. Then you can look for more ways to make money from your work and give yourself a further income stream.

In recent research, we found 63% of authors who had used or relied on a reversion clause went on to earn more money from that work.

What you need to do

Once the contract has run out, write to your publisher to start the rights reversion process set out in your contract. If the contract doesn’t have one, ask them to confirm they’ve reverted the rights to you. Use a recorded delivery so you can get a signature.