A few authors have filed a class action suit against the romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises and two European corporations it created. We’ve embedded a copy of the complaint below.

UPDATE: Harlequin publisher Donna Hayes responded: “Our authors have been recompensed fairly and properly for their work, and we will be defending ourselves vigorously.” The company added that “this is the first it has heard of the proceedings and that a complaint has not yet been served.”

The suit alleges that the publisher owes some authors eBook royalties from contracts signed between 1990 and 2004. During those years, these authors “entered agreements” with a Swiss corporation created by the romance publisher.

The lawsuit outlined the problem: “However, Harlequin, before and after the signing of these agreements, performed all the publishing functions related to the agreements, including exercising, selling, licensing, or sublicensing the e-book rights granted by the authors. Instead of paying the authors a royalty of 50% of its net receipts as required by the agreements, an intercompany license was created by Harlequin with its Swiss entity resulting in authors receiving 3% to 4% of the e-books’ cover price as their 50% share instead of 50% of Harlequin Enterprises’ receipts.”

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