Resources and Alerts from The Authors Guild

Posted: February 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Resources and Alerts from The Authors Guild

In addition to its useful resources for members including contract reviews, referrals, and other services, the Authors Guild also shares information about developments in publishing law and related matters with interested nonmembers via the Guild’s website. Two recent examples:

In the wake of the settlement in the Authors Guild v. Google action, the Authors Guild made a series of key documents available on its website, including a helpful distillation of the settlement agreement. More recently, after the announcement of the Kindle 2 by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Guild advised caution for writers crossing the intersection of electronic and audio rights. Although this potential conflict has been on the radar of many of us who negotiate publishing contracts, the announcement of the forthcoming Kindle’s “text to speech” feature brought questions related to these rights into sharp relief.

Far from being a challenge to the right of individual readers to read aloud as some too-quick commentators alleged, the Guild’s alert was appropriate and appropriately swift, raising a legitimate concern about a matter that should be considered carefully, and not only by authors. I’m thinking of parties on both sides of the negotiation table. Authors, artists, and other contributors need to understand what rights they’re granting and what rights they’re reserving, and to do so mindfully and strategically. Publishers—especially those whose contract boilerplate has not been reviewed in a few years—need to consider what rights they need and how best to delineate those rights in the contracts on which their business rests.

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