View Full Version : Registry of rights?

gianni pezzano
10-15-2011, 07:07 PM
As one of the authors caught up in the issues involving Aspen Mountain Press I, like the other authors find that the reversion of rights clauses can be easily blocked by publishers.

This is not the first time such a thing had happened and I don't think it will be the last (unfortunately).

At the moment we have to write and rewrite, regarding breahces of contract, or if the contracts have expired. If the period for reply elapses without reply then we send another letter, etc, etc etc. to be able to show posisble publishers the rights have reverted to the author.

I have been thinking about this and wonder whether or not the following could be a solution:

Would it be possible to form a central registry of some sort for authors' rights, similar to what now happens to copyright?

Just as copyright is registered, at the moment of signing the contract the registration of rights can also be made. This would also help publishers for they would know for certain that the rights belong to the author or to another publisher.

Any request for return of rights due to breach of contract, etc, will then need to be handled by a separate, independant third party. This would also avoid possible (and expensive) legal action in case of dispute...

The situation would not be easy to start off, but I think in the long term such a registry could avoid situations such as the one at AMP where the owner refuses to even open letters, etc, let alone answer them or comply with the request.

I wonder what everyone thinks of this....

gianni pezzano
10-15-2011, 07:33 PM
Thinking on my suggestion, the logical means to do such a thing could be a Publishing Industry Ombudsman...

10-16-2011, 08:25 PM
I doubt that would change anything. In the first place, what makes you think any publisher, let alone publishing as a whole, would agree to such a thing, or hand over any information? They wouldn't. Even if they did, no one would care, and enforcement would be exactly the same as it is now.

The publisher would simply say no to that third party, and you'd still have to get yourself an attorney. Not that it matter. Publishers have zero reason to agree to such a setup, and a million reasons to not agree.

They used to say that some magazines paid on acceptance, some paid on publication, and some paid on threat of a lawsuit.

This generally hold true with rights, as well. When a publisher violates a contract in any way, there is, and always has been, a solution. You get an attorney. Far more often than not, one letter from an attorney solves the problem. This usually costs very little, and is simply how contracts are enforced. It's rare that something like this must go to court, or be expensive. The mere threat of a lawsuit, from an actual attorney, usually does the trick.

Contracts are a matter of law, and violations need to be handled in the way the law specifies.

10-16-2011, 10:10 PM
The rights are in the contract -- if the publisher is willing to ignore that I am pretty sure they would ignore a third party register too