The following are some of the issues that are often addressed in a publishing agreement.
1. First, have you registered your copyright to the work with the Library of Congress?
2. Determine whether this is a Work for Hire (typically not recommended-please contact me to discuss), License to use “Work” or Assignment of all rights.
3. What is the scope of the right to use Work or scope of Assignment of rights, for example:
- Territory: North America Print only or Worldwide, etc.?
- Print, Electronic Media, All Media, Media not invented yet, unlimited use, hardcover, paperback, motion picture, translations, Braille, etc.?
- Merchandising (use of illustrations on t-shirts, hats, etc.)?
- Book club rights?
- Derivative works?
- Sublicensing rights?
- The right of a publisher to lease plates for a reprint?
- Advertising and Promotional material, etc.?
4. Copyright and Credit:
- Copyright protection – Publisher’s obligation to display Copyright Notice
- Publisher’s obligation to give credit to creator/artist.
- If biography of artist displayed, an artist will want to have right to approve or require changes.
5. Are there advance payments prior to or during the creation of work?
- Percentage or Flat Rate?
- The timing of payments?
- Right to inspect publisher’s records to assure the accuracy of payments?
7. Is there a prohibition on manipulation or alteration of the Work by the publisher or any other third party?
8. Is the contract binding for projects other than the current Work/Book (future versions, sequels)?
9. What is the provision for the return of artwork?
10. What happens when the book becomes “out of print?” Do rights revert to Author/Artist?
11. What rights and obligations survive termination of agreement?
12. What if Publisher does not promote book/work or files for bankruptcy?
13. What, if any, are the limitations on author-illustrator from creating competing works?
14. Is there a right to assign royalties, etc.?
This is not an exclusive list of issues and other important issues pertaining to specific circumstances will likely apply.
WRITTEN AND VISUAL ARTS LAW
This office offers representation to galleries, artists, collectors, writers, publishers, auction houses, and more.
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