I have been accepted to publish on a large English-speaking site. Among their submission guidelines, I found that I would agree to give away:

[..] a royalty free right to reproduce, publish, distribute, and write derivative texts (as well as translations and adverts) and the right to use your name, likeness or biography as well as publish information about you [..]

I have never seen this before? This essentially means that my name could be plastered all over the web, wherever they see fit to publish my article, translated or not.

And how am I supposed to interpret likeness in the statement above?

Is this really legal?

As an aside, I have been writing online for over 15 years.

Your input on this is highly appreciated.


"Likeness" would refer to anything that looks like you, such as a photgaraph, a sketch, or sculpted figurine. This waiver is necessary in light of the legal concept of "personality (publicity) right", whereby someone cannot without permission use your "facts" commercially, e.g. for advertising. So they could plaster away, if it suited them. You don't say what level of information they have about you e.g. have you sent them a picture, so if you're not happy with your face being used online, you can decline to provide a picture (unless you are required by the TOS to do so).

We are only here to address legal questions, not ones about how common a business practice is, but this is not a surprising condition for a publishing release.

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  • Thanks, much appreciated. Submission guidelines must surely be part of the category legal questions, as such stipulates an agreement between a writer and a publication? For me it seems that this type of waiver is really bordering on "model releases" where a subject is signing away the use of name and photos. So my reasoning is.. submission guidelines (with the clause above) ~ Model release = A legal agreement. – PdC Jun 28 '17 at 15:39
  • Right, and so it would not matter how common this practice is, just how legal it is (and it is). – user6726 Jun 28 '17 at 16:21
  • Changed "common" to "legal" to adhere to the scope of this forum. – PdC Jun 28 '17 at 18:15

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