Who Owns Omni?

Omni Magazine was the single greatest publication of all time. I dare you to refute that. As a kid, it drove my conception of what the future would be, between its nonfiction articles (sometimes a little fanciful) about inventions and innovations underway and to come, and the fantastic array of science fiction and fantasy stories.… READ THE REST

Got mortified for a moment, “Comments for this page are closed” and with the old Disqus format.
Also, the article’s full text is duplicated in the post, maybe someone with access could clean it up a bit?

All sorted!

My bad! I messed something up with the knobs and levers of publication.

Fantastic article! Which makes me feel bad that I’m going to be a tad nit-picky here, but I can’t help it.

Company ownership and work-for-hire doesn’t exist in every country.
Canada, for instance, lets you sign copyright away, but you’re always
the work’s owner and retain moral rights. O, Canada

Errr, not quite. Canada recognizes corporate ownership, just not corporate authorship. In Canada, an employee of a company who produces a work “in the course of employment” is still considered the author of the work, but the company will own the copyright in the work. So Omni’s situation wouldn’t really be any different under Canadian law than it would be under US law, except that the various copyrights would expire at different times.

My anthology Alien Contact was published in November 2011, and contained three stories that were originally published in OMNI. This will give you a taste of just some of the authors not already mentioned: “Amanda and the Alien” by Robert Silverberg (May 1983); “The First Contact with the Gorgonids” by Ursula K. Le Guin (January 1992); and “Recycling Strategies for the Inner City” by Pat Murphy (April 1989, but in a substantially different form as “Scavenger”). In previous anthologies and collections, I have used stories by George Alec Effinger and Bruce McAllister, to name two others. A remarkable publication for its fiction content.


Ah, I had meant to note that it was the authorship (the right to be identified as the author) not the ownership. Will repair.

As a young geek, I loved Omni as a kid. What stood out as much as the sci-fi was the articles of science. They interviewed Feynman. Explored the making of the (notorious) first mirror for the Hubble telescope. And they had comedy. Last Word was the first part of the magazine I read once the plastic came off. Sadly, its last years as a magazine were horrible, spiraling into a mag trying to prove the existence of UFOs and other psuedo-science. My subscription was allowed to lapse long before the mag ended.

As a magazine concept - blending art, science fiction and science - I’d love to see its kind return. Whether there’s ever a nostalgic book anthology of Omni’s golden years doesn’t matter as much as having another Omni spark people’s imagination.


By Silverberg in Omni, I remember the one about an alternate history where the Red Sea did NOT part and the pharaoh squashed Moses and the Jewish people. It takes place in the modern space age but everything has all sorts of Greek names, such as “the hour of Apollo” as a specific time of day.

“Steven King”? C’mon, Glenn!

I still have all of my originals from when they first came out. What a great mag.

Unrelated: I had to sign in/sign up for the boards all over again, and despite past posts my user name was apparently up for grabs. How did I miss that memo?

This is more like US Patents. People invent things and rights can then be assigned to a corporation, but corporations aren’t inventors.

my ballsack is the single greatest ballsack of all time. i dare you to refute that.

False argument. I can (and did) read Omni and thus can make an informed decision. Without at least a picture of your sac, I can’t do that.

Well that’s brave.

They pretty much only come in two models, tight and low. Unless he’s got elephantiasis, in which case, he would probably win the argument.


Omni was a great magazine…loved it as a kid: http://www.patrickmccray.com/2013/05/13/making-scientific-americans/

OMNI was way cool.

I seem to remember looking at an article about a jigger the size of a Walkman that had electrodes instead of earphones, which you put behind your ears IIRC, and it put out an alternating current at a variable frequency. And depending on the frequency, it’d allegedly cause your brain to release various sorts of neurotransmitters, mimicking the effects of various drugs!

I mean, whoah. AAs instead of the black market? I’m down!

Apparently the effects were non-addictive and Keith Richards used one to get off smack.

So, anyone got any info on this, or something like it? Maybe someone could dig up the original article at least.


“An ‘electronic replica’ of a printed work apparently requires no additional rights even when contracts call for it.”

This seems a little suspicious. I can guarantee that if I scanned, for example, every issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, put it on a set of optical media, and tried to sell it in a brown paper wrapper with no Marvel/Disney art, I’d still hear from Marvel/Disney lawyers.

Let’s assume (wrongly) that I had an infinite wallet to pay for my own army of lawyers. Are you saying I could cite the NatGeo case and possibly win, as long as I restricted my sales to just electronic replica of the comics themselves? Even though Marvel has their own thriving digital comics business (see Comixology, Marvel Unlimited).

There has to be a catch somewhere. (Note to any Marvel/Disney lawyer out there bored and looking for something to do- I’m not looking to do this. Put the lawsuit down.)

This only works for the publisher, not for just anyone. National Geographic had published the original issues and owns some rights in the collected work. It published CDs as full issues, not individual articles, in the same format and appearance as the original issues. The court found that that didn’t require additional rights nor compensation.

But if you’re Joe Wishlish, you have no rights in the collected works.

1 Like

Here’s a discussion on Wikipedia I started when trying to add a link from the Sandkings article to its Omni story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Science_Fiction#Link_to_stories_in_the_scanned_pages_of_Omni_magazine_on_Internet_Archive

In short, the edit was not approved.