Against all expectations, the CASE Act (Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019) has become law, after being folded into the omnibus spending and COVID-19 relief bill at the end of 2020. This new law creates a small-claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office to settle claims of copyright infringement outside of the federal […]
Archive for the ‘Contracts Committee Alerts’ Category
Recently, SFWA’s Contracts Committee was made aware of a situation in which a well-liked publisher canceled the publication of a number of books it had contracted to publish. The publisher said the decision was made because of “unexpected changes” at the company. The Committee has reviewed the contract in use, which lacked a provision for […]
The Contracts Committee has learned of recent cases in which a publisher did not routinely send authors a copy of the final contract signed by both the author and publisher.
A class action suit for violation of copyright, first filed in 2001, has finally brought checks to writers. The initial settlement in the case, the Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation, was approved in 2005, followed by more years of litigation. The deadline for authors to file claims was in 2005.
SFWA’s Contracts Committee has recently been seeing a proliferation of contracts from small magazines, and a very few established markets, that license all derivative rights in perpetuity. This is a red flag for a number of reasons, even if these rights are licensed non-exclusively.
Great Jones Street is — and soon, was — a Web site and app that publishes fiction. On December 24, they announced that they were going out of business, and that they planned to sell their inventory of fiction to an interested buyer. Writers who have sold work to Great Jones Street should carefully review […]
The SFWA Contracts Committee believes there are serious problems for writers with the non-compete and option clauses in many science fiction and fantasy publishers’ contracts. The non-compete language in these contracts often overreaches and limits authors’ career options in unacceptable ways.
There is a recent tendency of some publishers to change their contracts in manners that are decidedly unfavorable to authors. We have had and are having particular issues with indemnity clauses. Griefcom urges all of you to compare any offered contract to the SFWA Model Contract and to ask for changes in any clauses that are non-beneficial to you.
A few years ago, I blogged about early termination fees, a.k.a. kill fees, in publishing contracts, and why they are not a good thing.