[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [affs-project] Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: APIG inital report

From: Chris Croughton
Subject: Re: [affs-project] Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: APIG inital report
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 19:05:55 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Sat, Feb 25, 2006 at 05:42:01PM +0000, graham wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-02-24 at 08:01 +0000, Chris Croughton wrote: 
> > On Thu, Feb 23, 2006 at 12:49:53AM +0000, Graham Seaman wrote:
> >  There is no such primary market in  recent works (as MJ 
> > > says, if you want to get a book printed you normally have to give 
> > > exclusive printing rights to one publisher),
> > But even with the traditional publishers the 'monopoly' rights tend to
> > now have built-in limits, so that if they cease printing the book and
> > have no intention of reprinting the rights revert and can be sold
> > elsewhere, and in other cases they are only exclusive for one form
> > (hardcover by one publisher, paperback by another, for instance).
> > 
> You're saying it's possible for the author to negotiate such a limited
> surrender of rights, not that the law has changed; am I understanding
> that right?

It has always been possible, if you could get a publisher to sign it,
the law has nothing whatever to say about what contract conditions you
choose to make.  In the past, it was pretty much "take it or leave it",
since all of the major publishers did the same (again, their choice,
there is no legal or moral right to force someone to print your book
under your terms).  A fair number have now realiseed that this "dog in
the manger" attitude is counter-productive for them as well as for the
authors, since there are so many other channels an author can use, and
at least when pushed can be willing to negotiate a better (for the
author) deal.

(Yes, there are now laws about "unfair contracts", but they seem to be
rather arbitary in their implementation like most "human rights" type
legislation, it isn't a clear-cut issue.)

> The reason I'm asking is that I've been asked by an author to make a
> book available on the web. The original print rights were assigned to a
> company which went broke and were taken over by a well-known left-wing
> publisher. The author is happy to make the work freely available, since
> it is now out-of-print; the publisher say they wish to retain all print
> rights they have inherited, and the copyright statement on the web
> version must say that it cannot be converted to print-on-demand,
> although they themselves have no intention of reprinting the book or
> providing a p-o-d service. As I understand the law, they are within
> their rights to say this - correct?

Yup, if that's what the contract says (and it probably does).  Just as
the big record companies are within their legal rights to sign a new
band exclusively for 6 albums, then refuse to produce the sixth so that
the band can't work for anyone else.  If an author signs such a
contract, they are bound by it in law, they had the choice to not sign
it -- and again these days not signing with major record producers is
easily achievable, I know several people who make a living on sales of
discs done with indie producers.  I'm in contact with an author at the
moment who had the third book of a trilogy refused by the publisher (the
previous two "didn't sell well enough", they claim) and who is now going
ahead with it using web publishing (and eventually with a PoD house for
the dead tree version).  We'll see who's laughing in a year's time...

(And I do also know people who got burnt with contracts which --
although not in that case intended -- prevents their recordings from
being sold.  In the USA the Mechaical Copyright legislation does at
least allow them to record new arrangements of the songs, but the
original recordings are not available.  Moral -- get a lawyer to check
contracts, even if they are "just between friends"...)

Chris C

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]