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Feb 17, 2011

What Does Change in Copyright Law Mean for Writers?

I caught this item of news from Piers Anthongy:


Meanwhile, of interest to other writers: Congress changed the law, and now publishers can't hang on to an author's rights until 70 years after s/he dies. The new Copyright Act allows authors and their heirs to terminate contracts 35 years after the contract date and "recapture" the books, regardless whether they remain in print, beginning with contracts dated 1978. All my books are on license, meaning I can get my rights back after about ten years, except for 17 at Random House/Del Rey. Now, year by year, I can start recovering them. Other writers should check this out, because their publishers will not tell them.

There's a gold rush going on right now for the e-rights to millions of backlisted titles by previously published authors. A lot of these are older folks who aren't comfortable with the new tech and may surrender their rights without realizing it. If you fall in this category, or you are related to a writer who does, you should tread with care. Or sell your rights to me. :D

3 comments:

Tere Kirkland said...

Wow, this is really interesting. I had no idea the copyright laws had changed so drastically.

Thanks for the info. I'll have to learn more.

Heidi C. Vlach said...

"Gold rush" is a very apt way to describe the ebook revolution.

Jai Joshi said...

This is great news, Tara! Thanks for letting us know.

Jai