How well do you know your digital rights?
I was going to rely on retweeting a couple of articles, but there are a lot of facts and points of contention to share. Writer’s unions are a great source of information about all the rights of authors, but digital rights are still a point of confusion. If you are a writer looking to get published you must get informed about your rights so you can ask the proper questions and be knowledgeable about the pertinent deal points!
Yes, it is an agent’s job to know this information on your behalf, but many writers are pursuing publication alone and there is no excuse to be misinformed when there is a wealth of information out there and lobbyists available to answer questions.
Do you know the difference between assigning and licensing rights? Assignment: the outright transfer of intellectual property from one party to another. Licence: the terms given to the permission, which the owner of an intellectual property right may give to any other person or parties to use that intellectual property.
You can assign rights, but agents always prefer to licence the work for reasons like foreign rights potential and being able to control the intellectual property.
Do you know how long copyright lasts? 70 years after the death of the author in the U.S., 50 years after the death of the author in Canada.
Copyright, at its core, protects the author to reproduce, revise, distribute, and display their own intellectual property.
As book sales eagerly migrate from print to digital ebooks are no longer a subsidiary right, but a primary right that is a very important part of contract negotiations. Publishers have been firm on 25% ebook royalties (net receipts) but in the UK agents have been negotiating for 30-35% and getting it. Below, the Writer’s Union of Canada argues why ebook royalties should be 50%.
From this National Post article last week:
Author Greg Hollingshead, chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, answered some questions from the National Post about the bill of rights.
Q: Many writers seem content to leave matters of digital rights to their agents. Why is it important they’re educated? Continue reading