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Posts Tagged ‘Authors Guild’

Authors Guild Denounces “Dead Celebs” Bill

Yesterday the Authors Guild sent out an alert to its members that the organization, along with the Association of American Publishers, have publicly denounced a bill on the floor of the New York State Legislature that could allow heirs the legal right to block the use of photographs and other likenesses of deceased public figures who passed away after January 1, 1938. PW Daily explains that if the bill passes, it would create a “posthumous ;right of publicity’” that could, potentially, threaten the work done by historians, biographers and even novelists.

The bill has been introduced in two forms, according to Authors Guild sources. The Assembly version, which the Guild says could be voted on very soon and “would most likely pass,” and the Senate one, which the Guild thinks is “on a slower track.” Because the two versions of the bill do not exclude literary works from their scope, the Guild has urged its members to oppose the legislation by contacting their representatives. AAP director of communications Judy Platt, who said said “the bill, as written, is a disaster,” added that it is already being supported by some high profile celebrities like Al Pacino and Yoko Ono. Michael Gross also supports vetoing the bill and explains why: “Put simply, the bill stifles free speech, and in America, we don’t do that unless there’s a compelling reason. In this case, there is no compelling reason.”

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Controversy Over Changes to S&S’s Boilerplate

Simon & Schuster recently altered its boilerplate contract to extend their copyright control of an author’s work “in perpetuity” and the Authors Guild is steaming mad about it. In an alert issued yesterday, the Guild recommended that author considering excluding the house from auctions until they agree not to impose the new conditions: “The new contract would allow Simon & Schuster to consider a book in print, and under its exclusive control, so long as it’s available in any form, including through its own in-house database — even if no copies are available to be ordered by traditional bookstores. With the new contract language, the publisher would be able stop printing a book and prevent the author from publishing it with any other house.”

Added president Roy Blount Jr., “A publisher is meant to publish, to get out there and sell our books. A publishing house is not supposed to be a place where our books are permanently squirreled away.” It’s a sentiment that Jane Litte at Dearauthor.com wholeheartedly agrees with. “The publisher is signaling that it will no longer include minimum sales requirements for a work to be considered in print. Simon & Schuster is apparently seeking nothing less than an exclusive grant of rights in perpetuity. Effectively, the publisher would co-own your copyright.”

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