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Thread: Copyright

  1. #1
    Peter Olalor
    Guest

    Copyright

    Scenario: Your first edition by a POD publisher is poor. You have the book revised and professioanally edited with a new cover.

    Question: If you are the copyright holder and appear in the US Copyright database: What do you do when the first POD publisher refuses your request to stop selling and pronoting your work?

    Thanks again,

    Peter J. O'Lalor



  2. #2
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    You read the contract you signed with the current publisher. You don't get the rights back to the book until that contract says you do. (And POD is a printing technique used by all forms of publishers; it isn't a type of publisher.)

  3. #3
    John Bridge
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    Peter,

    I've never dealt with a POD printer, but it's my understanding they don't print if you don't pay them. What's the problem?

    -- and if you haven't sent a finished copy to the copyright office, don't until you get the new printing.

  4. #4
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    Gosh, Peter,

    When there are legal contracts concerned, you have to do things in the right order.

    First, you should have researched this type of publishing before jumping in. Second, you should have made sure you fully understood and were comfortable with the terms of the contract before signing it. Third, you should have reviewed the original contract before paying for editing and the design of a new cover.

    We can't advise you because we haven't seen the terms of your contract. You are legally bound by them, whether the subsidy publisher did a crummy job or not. If the publisher was grossly negligent or did not live up to the terms of the contract you can contest it in court. If not, you have to live with your choice of choosing them and signing the contract in the first place.

    Most subsidy publishers have distribution rights for a term of about four to seven years. Some try to get more and naive people agree to it, though I don't understand why.

    Read the contract again, several times if you have to. Then, if you still have questions, post them and we'll try to help.

    --- Mya Bell

  5. #5
    Vicky Scott
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    Some publishing contracts never expire, unless the publisher is no longer actively marketing your book. Why do writers sign these? Because they've been trying for years to get published (in one case I know of 30 years)and this is better than letting the manuscript gather more dust for another 30. ;-)

    This is a buyers market, folks.

    I like a two year contract myself, but publishers are naturally reluctant to go for something that short. If the book is popular, they've spent some time and money in promoting it etc. and then you can just walk away at the end of two years, and give it to another publisher.

  6. #6
    Vicky Scott
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    I believe the only real no no is selling your story outright along with the copyright. I don't know if there are any publishers who ask for this anymore, but the Superman author always springs to mind when I think of it.

  7. #7
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    Quote: "Question: If you are the copyright holder and appear in the US Copyright database:"

    The copyright and publishing rights are two different animals. Sounds like you sold off the latter.

  8. #8
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    Most of the top fiction authors retain copyright over their stories while granting the publisher a license to publish and distribute the work over a fixed term (at least it should be fixed, not open-ended). Subsidy publishers similarly license the work while the author retains the copyright.

    Midlist and lower level authors don't always have the option of retaining the copyright. The publisher usually tries to buy the copyright along with other rights and it's hard to say no if it means the difference between getting published and not getting published.

    Peter, if you signed a contract to license the work to a subsidy publisher and you are now shopping it to agents and an agent picks it up--that agent is going to be VERY unhappy if he or she sells it to a traditional publisher and finds out the licensing is tied up for several years. Your name will be mud and you'll probably have to reimburse the agent's costs, not to mention possibly shouldering a law suit.

    As I said previously, go over your subsidy contract and make sure you understand the terms. It's not nice to mess with agents by misrepresenting the availability of your publishing and distribution rights. You want to avoid that kind of mistake at all costs.

    --- Mya Bell

  9. #9
    Vicky Scott
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    Mya

    What if he changed the title of his book? I know this may sound less than ethical, but it is a cutthroat business.

  10. #10
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Copyright

    No. The content has to be substantially changed too. The more it's changed the less likely it will be challenged.

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