Call for Presenters: Literary Estates, Digital Rights

As part of the 2015 Nebula Awards weekend in Chicago, SFWA is seeking to join with the Illinois State Bar Association, as it did in 2005, to present a day-long joint Continuing Professional Education program for authors and lawyers.  As in 2005, speakers are expected to come from both SFWA and the ISBA.

We are looking for SFWA members (or their lawyers or agents) who can make presentations on two particular topics that we hope to highlight:

(1) How to create a “literary estate” for “small” authors, i.e., those who may have had published just a few stories, articles, essays, or a less well-known novel or two.  Someone some time may want to reprint their work, but that never will happen if the desiring publisher has to track down multiple heirs and heirs of heirs, each with an undivided interest in that author’s work.  Too much time and money to do that, for a work with small economic value.  A “literary estate” is supposed to prevent that work from being thus orphaned, and we are looking for an explanation of how to make such arrangements in the context of normal (not exorbitant) estate planning.

(2) Creating, negotiating and protecting digital rights.  What are the various digital rights that publishers may want and that authors may wish to keep for themselves?  How are these rights to be described and circumscribed?  How, and how much, can authors negotiate with various publishers about such rights?

Also, if there is another topic that you think needs be discussed, or which you would be available to present, please let me know that, too.

If you think you can make a presentation, or just shed some light and experience, on one of those issues or on just a sub-part of an issue, or if you have an attorney or agent who you might induce to make such a presentation, please contact Jeffrey G. Liss as soon as possible at JGLJGL@aol.com.  The ISBA would prefer to have that information before it makes a final go/no go decision.  Thanks much.

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