Status: These dang computers. I want to bang my head on my desk.
What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? MARRY ME by Train
About two weeks ago I mentioned that the most problematic issue in the new Macmillan boilerplate was the new clause 6. b. that granted the publisher the right to the copyright in any derivative work created by the publisher.
Just for the record, I’m not a copyright attorney and I don’t pretend to be one on TV or if I stay at a Holiday Inn Express. In other words, I’m not dispensing legal advice here; I’m simply sharing with you my general musings regarding the clause.
Since I don’t have the expertise, I sent it to my IP attorney. Now he’s not a copyright attorney either but his law firm certainly has an expert in-house so we looped him on the conversation as well.
A virtual copyright party at NLA!
His biggest concern was the broadness of the clause and how derivative works is not clearly defined. If you’d like some light reading before you go to bed tonight, feel free to click here. This will link you to the copyright act in all its glory. You’ll want to click on Chapter 1 and peruse sections 102 and 103 that particularly discuss derivative works.
He also let me know that there are currently lawsuits in process that examine the scope of derivative works and what can or can’t be defined as such. Fun.
So two thoughts:
1. It’s obviously better to remove the clause and any reference to derivative works from the contract. And, if you have leverage, it can be done. But if you don’t…
2. How best to restrict this clause in such a way to make pursuit of derivative works impossible without expressed approval of the author?
Now we’re talking. My lawyer gave me some good insights and if you want to pay my lawyer fees, then I could share them on the blog. *grin*
This is why you have agents by the way.
My other big question was this: I get how a derivative work could be done fairly easily with a nonfiction project, but I wasn’t certain how it would apply to fiction. Now I am.
More on that tomorrow. Stay tuned.Macmillan