When submitting your poetry to magazine or ezines the editors will usually stipulate what rights they acquire. I’m going to explain each of these so you’ll know exactly what they mean.
1. First Serial Rights. This means that the poem has never before been published and the poet is offering their poem for publication for the first time to the magazine.
2. One Time Rights or Simultaneous Rights means that the publication has nonexclusive rights to publish the poem once. So, basically you can submit your accepted poem to other publications at the same time. It means you retain all rights to your poem.
3. Second Serial Reprint Rights. This means that publications will accept your poetry which have been previously published elsewhere. With these rights you will have to indicate the name of the publication which first published your poem.
4. Electronic Rights. This means online magazines, CD poetry readings etc… Some online magazines also archive their issues.
5. Relinquishing all Rights. There are instances where a magazine or publisher will ask for “all rights” which means that you basically turn over your rights to the publisher and cannot publish that particular poem anywhere else. It’s not a good idea to relinquish all rights however there are instances when you can. It’s up to you. Example: Last year I entered a poetry contest where the winner received a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong. I won the contest and as a result had to give up my rights to that poem. Normally I never give up rights to my poetry but this was a free trip to Hong Kong so I gave up my rights to that particular poem. You have to do what is right for you and work with the publication on that issue. You normally won’t find many publications asking you for “all rights.”
Let me know if you have any questions regarding these rights.