Monday, February 23, 2009

Lawsuits and Authors' Book Rights.

RIGHTS: In publishing, rights refer to the different types of format sales for a written work. Some of the rights that can be contracted from an author are the right to publish a massmarket paperback version, a hardcover version, an ebook version, and an audio version of a work.

The current controversy over whether text-to-speech is a right by itself, part of audiobook rights, or not a right at all isn't the first time that an author's right had to be defined.

In 2001, Rosetta e-Books contracted ebook rights to a number of books by famous authors including William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Parker.

Random House who had these authors under contract for paper rights declared that if a book contract did not mention electronic/digital rights, the ebook rights were automatically part of the paper rights so Rosetta could not publish these authors' ebooks. They sued Rosetta.

The final results of the lawsuit said that control over ebook rights belonged to authors and their agents, not with the paper publisher, and that the author/agent had a right to sell those rights separately. In other words, ebook rights were a separate right, not included with paper rights.

As media continues to evolve, lawsuits such as this will be needed to protect the author's various rights.


ASK ME A QUESTION! I'm always open to writing and publishing questions. Please ask. Either contact me through my blog, website, or via email at marilynnbyerly (at)




THE WRITING LIFE How an author maintains her confidence and mental health in the hard world of publishing.

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING "How Does the Google Settlement Affect You?" An article by a copyright and entertainment lawyer. A must read.

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING: The Ten Commandments of Courtesy The agent/author/publisher relationship.

A QUERY WORKSHOP Jackie Kessler dissects her successful query.

PROMOTION: A list of freelance publicists courtesy of "The Book Publicity Blog."

PROMOTION: A very informative blog on Internet promotion.

1 comment:

RowenaBCherry said...

Excellent analysis, Marilyn.
Thank you!

Rowena Cherry