Bankruptcy Clauses In Publishing Agreements

Many publishing agreements include bankruptcy clauses to protect the author, for example:  In the event of the bankruptcy, insolvency or liquidation of the Publisher, this Agreement shall terminate and all rights granted to the Publisher shall revert to the Author automatically and without the necessity of any demand or notification. Sounds good. But is it  enforceable?  Surprisingly – no. ...

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Authors Guild Announces Fair Contract Initiative

On May 28, 2015, at Book Expo America in New York City, the Author’s Guild announced an ambitious new program — a must-read for every writer — named The “Fair Contract Initiative.” This initiative is a series of commentaries that will take “a fresh look at the standard book publishing contract.” According to the announcement, the “guiding principle . . is to restore balance to the...

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The Net Revenue Royalty Clause

Publishers traditionally have based royalties on the retail price of the book – the list or cover price – or more rarely, the invoice (wholesale) price of the book. Another approach, however, always has existed: a net revenue formula. This formula is based on the publisher’s actual receipts after all discounts and costs of sale, rather than the retail price. This type of royalty...

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Getty Images’ New Policy

In the movie “The Princess Bride” the hero, played by Cary Elwes, is tortured to death.  Except it turns out he’s only “mostly” dead, and he can be revived.  Likewise, Getty Images now are “mostly” free. Some background.  Contrary to what many people believe, photos, drawings, and images are protected by copyright law, and you may not use them without the permission of the owner (usually the...

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The Google Book Scan Lawsuit Decision

 I have written before about the Author’s Guild copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for its unauthorized digitizing of copyrighted works.  Now, after eight years of litigation, we have a decision. Briefly, in 2005 the Author’s Guild and other plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Google for its “Book Search,” alleging that Google violated the copyrights of authors and...

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The New Copyright “Small Claims” Proposal

Background:  Perhaps the greatest intellectual property dilemma facing American writers is the difficulty of enforcing copyright claims when the damages are not large – and, conversely, the high cost of defending against frivolous or unjustified claims.  Currently, all infringement lawsuits must be brought in federal court, and registration of the copyright is a precondition.  (Unless a large...

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