A Lawyer's Opinion Of The Contract: "...it's the worst sort of rights grab..."

Re: The Writer Beware article: Start Media Buys Whiskey Creek Press, Imposes New Contract Terms

"Writer Beware is an excellent site and provides insightful analysis and warnings concerning publishers and their contracts. However, PG disagrees with WB’s defense of life-of-the-copyright contract terms. Ultimately, it’s the worst sort of rights grab and, in PG’s unceasingly humble opinion, is always unreasonable.

Additionally, as they are typically written, out-of-print clauses are seldom a reasonable solution to the problem of ridiculously long publishing contracts.

First, the typical OOP clause is extremely complex and difficult for an author to navigate. Having to pay an attorney to help figure out whether a book is out of print and work through the OOP administrative process is ridiculous.

Second, the typical OOP clause gives the publisher all sorts of ways to avoid reverting the title with no material benefit to the author.

Third the typical OOP clause is set to such a low trigger point – WB mentions 50 copies per year or 25 copies per year – that the author has probably experienced years of absurdly small royalties before the OOP clause can be triggered."

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/06/2014/start-media-buys-whiskey-creek-press-imposes-new-contract-terms/#comment-222553

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's what I expected. No surprises. That contract is bad, bad, bad.

Desperate Housewife said...

You don't have to be a lawyer to know that contract is crap. Still it's nice to get official confirmation like this.

Anonymous said...

The contract is a rip off folks, don't sign it, and if you already have you have my utmost sympathies.

Biker said...

Victoria Strauss disappointed in that article the way she defended the rights for life clause. The Write Agenda seems to have got it right about her.
http://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/victoria-strauss/

Anonymous said...

@Biker
Yeah, I was pretty amazed at that as well. Why would someone who presents themselves as a writers advocate stab writers in the back like that. Oh man.

Anonymous said...

I got the impression that Victoria was cozying up to Start, and trying to play both ends against the middle. Doesn't work.

Angie Baby said...

Good article. So WCP could be held liable for 'willful infringement,' when it continues to sell our books once the contract has expired. Then there's the late royalty payments and no royalty statements, which are other breaches of contract. This is the out for authors who didn't sign the infamous 'letter of agreement.' But will it help the authors who signed? Is there anyway they can get out too?

Anonymous said...

@ Angie
Absolutely they can get out. The original contract that the Womack's are in breach of is still in effect. The notorious "letter of agreement" wasn't a contract in its own right, it was merely an addendum.

Biker said...

"Rowena Womack is a children's author and matriarch of the Womack Family Publishing Group." Has anyone seen this? It's the first I've heard.
http://www.rowenawomack.com/

Anonymous said...

So that's why they're holding onto the children's section at WCP.
http://www.rowenawomack.com/about.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.rowenawomack.com/
That's very interesting...click on the link for Womack Family Publishing and check out the other Womack presses

Merry Maid said...

http://www.womackpublishinggroup.com/

Anonymous said...

Looks like Rowena may own this business:
http://anonymous-embroidery.warsaw.in.amfibi.com/us/c/655911-anonymous-embroidery

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