I’ve been reading a lot about the Permuted Press situation, all written by people with more knowledge of the situation than me, so I won’t comment on it, but—
As a type designer, I have done work on a royalty or advance plus royalties basis similar to traditional book publishing, and I have done work for hire in which I gave up all rights to the final work. Each time I did work for hire, I knew that was what I was doing and was well compensated for it.
Writers, if you are signing away all rights to your work for the life of the copyright (until 70 years after your death), you are effectively doing work for hire whether or not the contract uses that phrase. Please, before signing a contract, understand what you are signing, and if you don’t, seek advice from someone who does. (This is in no way meant as a justification of Permuted Press’s actions or an attempt to blame the victims. It’s meant as a cautionary plea. It’s a rough world out there. We need to protect ourselves and each other.)