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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 31781
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I am about to sign a contract for an edited book deal for academic

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I am about to sign a contract for an edited book deal for academic publication. One of my authors dropped out because they wanted a contract before beginning their writing process. Do I need to have a contract with my authors? In my contract with the publisher it says that "the editor may not assign, sublicense, subcontract or otherwise transfer his/her rights or obligations under this Agreement without prior written consent of the Publishers" but it also states "the Publishers may assign, sublicense, subcontract or otherwise transfer it rights or obligations under this agreement." I'm not even aware that this is common practice or not in academic publishing. Right now the only people responsible for the book are the co editor and I. What are some possible options for responding to the author who wants a contract?

Roger : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm an Intellectual Property litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist.
Roger : Yes, you should have a contract with your authors that outlines the obligations of the author, the amount of compensation, etc.
Roger : Also, it is common for a publisher to have the right to assign the contract, but not you. The reason is that the publisher may sell the rights to another publisher, be bought out, etc. But, they want a product from you, so you wouldn't be able to have the same rights of assignment.
Roger : Basically, as long as you get paid, you probably don't care who pays you for the work. However, the publisher has a vested interest in making sure that you produce the work that they want.

So will that help prevent the other authors from dropping out ?What would I be giving up by asking for contributing authors for contracts?

Roger : Yes.
Roger : If you have a contract, you would be able to hold the authors to their agreement, and if they don't, you could sue.



Do you know if this is common for academic publishing though? I'm not sure about the etiquette. My co-editor says she is doing a book for someone and has no contract right now. She is also in Canada.

Roger : There's nothing uncommon about it.
Roger : Contracts are common in any situation where there's an agreement to perform in exchange for payment.
Roger : A written contract certainly isn't required, and a verbal contract can be acceptable. However, if there's a dispute, it's hard to prove the terms of an oral agreement.


Roger : That's the main advantage if having something in writing.

Would you be able to look over the contract to answer some other questions or would I have to pay for another question?

Roger : I can't review a document and give a legal opinion because than may be construed as being more than this site is set up for.
Roger : However, if you've got a provision you have a question about, I'll try to answer it.



In the copyright section it states

that the publisher will maintain the copyright for the work.

What about the individual author’s intellectual property?

The editor grants the publishers the sole and exclusive right and license to adapt, produce and publish, and license others to adapt, produce and publish, the whole or any part of the editor’s part in and to the work …

Generally speaking, can the editors teach on the subject or run seminars on the material?

Roger : In a work for hire situation, it's common for the author to give up the IP rights as you're being paid to produce a product for the company.
Roger : If he editor gives up all rights, then a license would likely have to be obtained from the publisher in order to use the materials for training, teaching or seminars.
Roger : This is something that you could negotiate and try to retain a license to use the materials with an indefinite license.

They are having us fill out W9 tax forms so we are definitely not employees, probably contractors. It says "The editor authorizes teh Publishers to apply for a copyright registration of the work and any revisions or other editions thereof througout theoworlld in the name of the Publishers. The Publishers will register the copyright in the WOrk in the name of the Publishers in copliance with the copyright law of the United States, and will publish the work with a copyright notice in the name of the Publishers"


This sounds fairly clear but we have a few authors, that may want to publish their work elsewhere. To this it says the editor "The editor grants the publishers the first refusal (including the first opportunity to read and consider for publication) the editor's next work suitable for publication in volume and/or electronic form and the editor will not offer such work for publication to any other publisher until an offer made by the Publishers has been considered and declined. ..."

Roger : The right of first refusal would be honored, and no author could go elsewhere unless he publisher passes.

sounds like a decent contract. Not much legalese....most of it is in plain english and seems fair.


Royalties are 2.5% could we negotiate that?

Roger : Most contracts are in favor of the one who drafts it. However, that doesn't meant that it's unfair to you, but you do need to be sure to carefully read all of the provisions and consider the affects it may have on you.
Roger : Yes, you can negotiate the royalty percentage.

What else can be negotiated usually? We would like ebooks published but that is not in the contract

Roger : You can literally negotiate any term you like. Also, you can add to the agreement if there's something you want an agreement on - such as ebooks , etc.

To add or negotiate would one usually hire an intellectual property attorney in person to go over and draft a new contract?

Roger : That would be the best option - especially if you're wanting to negotiate or change several terms.
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