“And Stay Down!”: Tweaking the DCMA

ebook piracyPirate websites are among the banes of the indie author – and of traditionally-published authors, as well. But the Authors Guild, of all organizations, has suggested a fix.

The move comes as the House Judiciary Committee is looking into a possible overhaul of U.S. copyright law. First, the basics: Copyright is different from publishing rights. In the United States, for works created after January 1, 1978, the creator of the work holds the copyright for his or her lifetime plus 70 years. You, as the copyright holder, may sell various types of publication rights – including film rights and foreign language rights – to others. But you’re not selling them your copyright. What you’re doing, in effect, is giving them a license to market the work you created and own. They then share the profits with you.

The difference with a pirate site is there’s no profit-sharing. Continue reading ““And Stay Down!”: Tweaking the DCMA”

Collaborative Contracts for Authors

collaboration contract for authorsIn this age of cooperation among writers (much better than competition!), it seems like we see a lot more collaborative efforts. From multiple writers on a single book to multiple writers banding together to create boxed sets, more and more authors are finding supportive boosts from working together: the antithesis of the lonely writer squirreled away at a corner desk, writing in dim isolation. The only drawback (if that’s what you want to call it) is the added consideration of how rights are assigned and profits are distributed.

My brother and I have found that we feed off each other’s creativity. We’re both writers, but we differ in that he’s got the knack for writing screenplays, a fairly bare-bones way of setting down a story, while I write novels where I can expand and expound. Either of us, I think, would be hard-pressed to write in the other’s style. So we’ve worked out a way to combine our efforts so all the bases are covered. Continue reading “Collaborative Contracts for Authors”

Ten Reasons Why I am Self-Publishing (Part 2) by Jordan Dane

Author Jordan Dane

I hope you saved room for a nice juicy steak. Part two of my post will cover the meaty reasons why I am self-publishing and building my virtual shelf. Point #6 deals with publishing industry contractual terms—something I didn’t know before I sold, but am dealing with now years later. Don’t get me started on Rights Reversion language. Oh, wait. That’s exactly where we’ll start. (If you missed Part One, you can read it here.)

6.) Control of Your Book Rights –Subsidiary Rights, Foreign Rights, and Reversion Rights. Retaining control of your digital rights (for e-books) and not have them tied up for years after your book is released is a HUGE benefit. The current contract language for e-books is lumped in with print book definitions. Makes no sense that digital books would have ANYTHING to do with print books, but most publishing contracts have these definitions lumped together in one clause or another (ie. “out of print” definitions and rights reversion language). Some of you may not know this or realize the impact until you try and get your backlist rights back, only to realize your house can keep rolling their rights to your work for years. This can be a nightmare. This is a HUGE reason for an author to self-publish, or at the very least, push to define e-books separately and not link the contractual terms to that of print book definitions. Why can’t e-book rights be limited to 2-3 years and stop? Why must an author ask for permission for rights that should automatically revert back to them and undergo a lengthy process over another 12-18 months where their digital rights are tied to royalty statements and definitions of books in print? Foreign rights can be lucrative too if your agent works this angle and shops them aggressively. Who knows? Maybe you both can shop those foreign rights on your next trip to France. Road trip! Continue reading “Ten Reasons Why I am Self-Publishing (Part 2) by Jordan Dane”

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