[Buddha-l] Conservative (Copyright and copywriters)

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Thu Jun 3 08:50:52 MDT 2010



Joanna's right on this one:

> JK:
> True--but in my case my publisher owns distribution rights,

The publisher puts the author's name on the copyright page after
the encircled "c", but they own all the practical rights to it.
The money goes to them (and often no royalties go to the author
until a certain critical mass of volumes has been sold, a number
set high enough by the bean counters who devise such things so
that authors will rarely see a penny), they are the ones who
grant or deny permission to "copy" from the work -- so the author
holds the copyright in name only. The pulishers have all the
rights concerning making copies.

An author can request of the publisher that it turn the rights
over in full, which it is not under any obligation to do, though
(and many authors don't know this), the law tends to support such
requests once a book has gone into second printing or beyond, so
publishers tend to yield. But such a request involves a somewhat
formal procedure and the good will of the publisher.

Publishers are scam artists.


Scam artists indeed. I did get a better royalty percentage of
sales than their usual because I produced the whole thing--they
only distribute it (AND they did a lousy job of marketing, most
of which I did). 
I went with a decent academic publisher (instead of
self-publishing via my website) because I wanted the "street
cred", as one of my correspondents put it once. I wanted it even
more because having taught for 27 years at an institution that
emphasised nannying the students and teaching (rather than
emphasising publishing)-- and also during most of those years
being afflicted with chronic joint disease causing pain and
exhaustion-- it was only after retirement, moving to a city with
medical resources, and having the time, that I was able to
produce my research in useable form and acquire some of that
street cred. 

But as the man said, statisfactions are a mixed bag.


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